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The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club)

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The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club)

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by Colson Whitehead  (Author)


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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.

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PDF: $3.00
ePUB: $3.00

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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.

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Customer Reviews

LOVED THIS. So in full transparency Review by By gmcmanus
LOVED THIS. So in full transparency, I was skeptical about it, because as a U.S. history major, I have read so many books about slavery, I just wasn't sure what Whitehead could possibly do that would be fresh, enthralling, unique to the genre and subject matter. Let me tell you something. I was up late, gripping this book, white knuckling it if you will. There were times when I was terribly afraid for the protagonist and my heart was pounding wildly as she faced any number of situations. I would have to put it down, and think, this isn't even real! The thing is, though the premise is imaginary, clearly slavery was not. Being a young black woman, this hit close to home. What if this was me? Would I have been strong enough to stay focused and calculating. Would I have been picked as an ideal partner to escape with? The end is strong, though absolutely infuriating in some aspects. I realize this was done intentionally, as ultimately this isn't Disney so you're not supposed to close with the happily ever after. I'd strongly suggest this novel if you're looking for a powerful read. (Posted on 5/1/2017)
Things we were never taught in school Review by Sherry Thorn
I chose this book, frankly, because Oprah chose it for her book club. As a lower middle class white child, educated in the '60's, I was well aware of the segregated south, but I had no idea the depth of the degradation and depravity of what people of color had endured in this country. The land of the free, home of the brave......unless you were a person of color. Kidnapped from your village in Africa, sold into bondage......IF you had survived the arduous journey from the Dark Continent to the Americas. Seeing your heritage stripped from you, as surely as your dignity and humanity as you stood on the auctioneers' block.
Bearing children, only to see them torn from you to satisfy your master's debts. I am sure that these atrocities were part of my education, but this novel brings them more to the forefront than any textbook ever did. Even my college textbooks were circumspect in their description of man's inhumanity to man. For example, I did not know that all abolitionists were not involver in the underground railroad for purely altruistic reasons. Some actually used the newly "freed" slaved for medical research, delivering them from one sort of subhuman bondage to another. This book is a real Eye-opener for anyone educated in the public school system . Our textbooks did NOT tell the whole story. This novel gives a glimpse into the hardships and injustices we really never grasped in our American History class. An easy, if unsettling, read for this white girl! (Posted on 4/14/2017)

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