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 2,333 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

  • 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
  • Gripping, Heartbreaking and Brilliant

    By Nvil
    An incredibly written and hauntingly beautiful piece of work. I couldn’t put it down and wanted desperately to keep reading Cora’s story. The author has done an amazing job bringing to life the harsh realities of that era. Don’t wait. Start reading this now!
  • History buffs will balk

    By Artist21
    Historically inaccurate, but good story. There were many haunting scenarios.
  • An actual underground railroad?

    By Nancy Pants 2
    I’m enjoying this book but ... the author describes in great detail an actual train in an underground tunnel. Based on my other reading, there was no such thing. I’m certainly not an expert on the Underground Railroad but I doubt this existed. Why move from nicely written historical fiction to fantasy? This is a real flaw in the plot that asks the reader to suspend logic. I’m still reading this and otherwise think it’s a good read.
  • Excellent

    By Mystrece
    This book is not a very pleasant read, but it’s a riveting one. The story is beautifully told and it’s very hard to put down. It’s a sometimes brutal but mostly lyrical telling of one of the darkest moments in our nation’s history. The characters are three dimensional and you can’t help investing in each and every one of them. You won’t read many books that are better than this one. I highly recommend it.
  • Superb

    By the maestro
    Gripping story with well developed characters. A must read.