The Underground Railroad Author:Colson Whitehead From prize-winning, bestselling author 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 African... more »s, 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.« less
This book was horribly sad, it tore my heart open repeatedly. I don't usually read books like this but it was chosen for a book club I wanted to attend. I couldn't even get through the first page without crying. I had to put it down to rest my heart. I never made it to that book club meeting.
I know it is fiction and one major detail was changed but that didn't take away from the story. I know that the majority of the book was close enough to the real thing and the terror that people endured was just as real. I have read about the horrible things that humans did to other humans because of the color of their skin and it is heart-rending. I wish it all could be considered fiction but the sad truth is that this horrible story was a reality for too many souls. There is language that I like to avoid but in this book, it is part of the reality.