Book cover - The Underground Railroad - Author Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad

Author Colson Whitehead

  • Release Date: 2016-08-02
  • Genre: Literary
Our score: 4.5
From 2,888 Ratings

The Underground Railroad Summary

The Underground Railroad - Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
     In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
     Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

The Underground Railroad Review

  • Cora

    By Livylavidalocca
    Compelling story of a young slave girl and her escapes from slave owners and their posses.
  • A must read

    By Katvoro
    Wonderful read! Discuss and meditation on the African American experience during slavery.
  • Blown away by how truly bad this book is!

    By Rodmand
    Ok, so I bought it thinking it was historical fiction and would be a good summer read, and the review(ers) were falling all over themselves about what an amazing, soon to be American classic, etc etc. Please! It should be classified as fantasy or science fiction! Bad enough that the title suggests its about the historic underground railroad and the plight, flight and struggles of those fleeing the atrocities in the south, seeking passage to the North (spoiler alert - its actually about an underground train) but even if you’re able to get into the “spirit” of the novel and forgive the somewhat blatant misuse of the historical references, its plodding, predicable and oh so annoying. If your looking for anything remotely real, or at the other end of the spectrum- something that you’ll enjoy and look forward to picking up during your “you” time, this will sorely disappoint on both fronts.
  • Cora is my superwomen

    By Hickory 4444
    Witnessing the constant heartaches and evil Cora endures brings me sadness, however the strength ad her power in a pushing forward is truly inspiring. This book was amazing and I finished in 4 days I simply couldn't put it down!
  • The Underground Railroad

    By Bee britches
    Great book Hard to keep up with the characters in places
  • Yearning to be Free

    By SirGregOfMays
    Live amongst the enslaved…and feel their yearning to be free!
  • A ride underground worth taking!!

    By Vrcrhack
    You can't read this novel and still feel that the effects of slavery are not upon us.
  • 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    By amandax345
    A very moving and powerful book. May not be as accurate but it still tells a gripping story.
  • Fantastic Read

    By ishybiggysqusihy
    Great book enjoyed every page
  • Amazing

    By Plewman
    To be able to tell a tale in such amazing detail that brings the reader into the circumstances described. I read this in 2 days unable to put it down. It brought tears to my eyes the recall how cruel we can be yet all the time hopeful of a positive outcome for the ‘heroine’ Cora. Boo to the readers who didn’t get the poetic license about a physical railroad. Such small minds. I am amazed at the author’s ability to craft such an intricate story. Truly an artist.


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