The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad

Artist Colson Whitehead

  • Release Date: 2016-08-02
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 1,485 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.


  • 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.
  • Page Turner

    By CristianB5101
    This is was an awfully realistic book. This was astonishingly a very good read. The authors writing was superb recommend this book. I really enjoyed the characters the authors put in the book.
  • A confused thriller

    By Karwanpola
    First of all . I like idea of the book . But when I dived into it i found myself stranding btw confusing aspects. The first one is the chapters are so long and so twisted I couldn't find any connection btw them . The second is the protagonists haven't been so sold to make you consistently whether interact or bond with them.
  • Disappointed

    By WilliamRossBryan12
    I only read the first fifty pages of the novel and thirty characters have been introduced making it very difficult to follow. Also the author's use of vulgarity did not help the cause. I was surprised that this book has so many positive reviews because it was a poorly structured piece of literature.
  • The Underground Railroad

    By Stongworthy
    Incredible to me that the Pulitzer folks would give this book any consideration at all. The author does manage a number of well written paragraphs and even whole pages but the overall premise is ridiculous and the many bogus representations pretty much trash any hope of worthwhile engagement for an educated reader. This isn't historical fiction, but fantasy. A poorly told tale with underdeveloped characters and nothing of value left with the reader. A disappointment...but at least it's short.
  • 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.