The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad

By Colson Whitehead

  • Release Date: 2016-08-02
  • Genre: Literary
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 2,039 Ratings)


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.


  • 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.
  • Riveting

    By Katzbeach
    A very important book especially given the current climate regarding race in this country
  • Underground Railroad

    By Boots12
    A fresh perspective on a dark history. Nearly perfect and thought provoking. Could not put it down. It lingers in my mind yet today.
  • A great book, a great read, BUT

    By Ariel333777
    What a great read, a real page turner...BUT....there was no physical underground railroad, as this book depicts. The Underground Railroad was a network of houses, barns, paths, waterways, and above all people who helped slaves escape the horrors of slavery. There was NOT a literal set of trains and train tracks underground. I wish. Think. The first transcontinental railroad was built above ground at great cost between 1863 and 1869. How then could there be a sophisticated underground rail system from Florida to Canada via Indiana by the 1830's, as this book suggests? There wasn't. There isn't. So my only complaint with the book is I wish the author had done a bit more research. But what a great story. Thank you.