Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Audiobook Length: 10 hours and 43 minutes
First Published: 2016
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, this #1 New York Times bestseller chronicles 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. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood—where greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him.
In Colson Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop.
As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the terrors of the antebellum era, he weaves in the saga of our nation, from the brutal abduction of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is both the gripping tale of one woman’s will to escape the horrors of bondage—and a powerful meditation on the history we all share.
Quotes from The Underground Railroad
Slavery is a sin when whites were put to the yoke, but not the African. All men are created equal, unless we decide you are not a man.
The world may be mean, but people don’t have to be, not if they refuse.
Sometimes a useful delusion is better than a useless truth.
The only way to know how long you are lost in the darkness is to be saved from it.
About Colson Whitehead
Colson Whitehead is the author of a number of books, including Harlem Shuffle, The Nickel Boys, Sag Harbor, Crook Manifesto, and The Intuitionist. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for The Underground Railroad. He currently lives in New York City. Visit the author’s website →