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 2,557 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

  • 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    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.
  • Terribly disappointing

    By FLLtoNYC
    I was very excited to read this book. I was very disappointed. The author should not have made an actual railroad underground. It undermined the entire book. This was my first and last “Oprah book club” book.
  • Amazing

    By sylloh
    A must read to truly understand the roots of racism. Captivating storytelling interwoven with historical accounts. I could not put it down.
  • I’ve read much better than this!

    By Drobster 1
    Whereas the story is real, it jumps around way too much. Something happens to a character, tell the reader “what happened”! Don’t wait until one or two chapters later. The story ended too soon. As a matter of fact it had no ending. The author just dropped it and left the reader (at least me) wondering, “What the hell was that?” The characters were great but the development took way too long.
  • An Honesty Read.

    By JTFord91
    Colson does a good job at showing g the horrendous realities of slavery. Soon as you thought things were getting better for Cora tragedy struck. I've read Slavs narratives where the try a sugarcoat the truths. Slavery was brutal and colson definitely allows the reader to see how brutal it really was. It takes a minute to get into the verbiage of the book. The literary style really wasn't my favorite as it feels like it jumps around a lot, but nevertheless it was amazing story.
  • Tissues will be needed.

    By Ric8990
    In “Underground Railroad”, a runaway slave is caught and set on fire while the slave-owning white family and their friends sit down to lunch and watch. Whitehead really does not spare any feelings in that novel. Slavery was horrifically cruel.
  • A good read

    By Paxriverwino
    Great use of the English language. The author will have me buy all of his previous works.
  • Addresse d exw wda researchers

    By 59ajl
    Call Wasabiswz also sfD Really Is thew