The Underground Railroad (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club) - Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club)

By Colson Whitehead

  • Release Date: 2016-08-02
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 914 Ratings


The National Book Award Winner and #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.


  • Loved every page...

    By Robertson Fam
    This is a piece of art in itself. I don't read many books, this kept me wanting to read without the need to eat or sleep. Absolutely the best I could ask for!
  • Beautiful yet tragic story

    By Julius Jefferson
    Reading this book, I couldnt help but be in awe of the writing. The story was beautiful yet tragic. Slavery will forever be a stain on this country, like it or not...
  • Read this

    By ornwen
    This is a must read for any Whitehead fans, and anyone interested in slave narratives. Though a novel, the horrors are quite real. Makes it plain what a scourge slavery was.
  • The Underground Railroad

    By Jack Manx
    It has the Underground Railroad as an actual railroad that was underground - a series of tracks and tunnels underneath the country! I found this very disappointing. From that point on, the story was not as interesting. Maybe it was because I couldn't get over that ridiculous concept but I think it was more that the story became disjointed and confusing as the book went on.

    After reading 1/3 of this book, I couldn't read anymore. It just sort of kept dragging on, and on, and on. I never really got what the author was trying to achieve and finally just couldn't read anymore. I honestly don't get what all the hype is about it.
  • Not as good as the hype....

    By Seniormoney
    Lots of hype around this book. Was hoping it would be more historical based, with the story weaving in and out of it. Pretty boring stuff
  • Insight about our terrible past via a wonderfully written story

    By PDXjohn
    That says it all!
  • Not a bad book

    By Olu Ayekoti
    Underground Railroad is a great book to read if your into historical fiction or your looking to read something different. This book is an emotional rollercoaster one minute your excited about a situation and then next minute you want to cry and yell.
  • What he said

    By the.extrapencil
    The book was so much better than I’d anticipated—this is not the underground railroad of Frederick Douglass, though that was an unforgettable history lesson, one of the few I remember from high school. Instead, it’s, well, it is EXACTLY what the Apple reviewer described. After reading that review, all I can say is, DITTO! Also, I read it in two days; yes, it was a weekend. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. When a writer pulls me into a harrowing world, I’m tempted to flee. Not thi time. Not even on the best of modern-day supertrains. A+
  • Excellent

    By Mr. Seann
    An extremely inventive and effective imagination, that captures the brutal inhumanity of slavery in the US.