The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
This is the #1 New York Times bestseller and USA National Book Award Winner and picked as a must-read by Barack Obama.
The Underground Railroad is an infamous passage from slavery to freedom and exists beyond the metaphor, as a network of train tracks and cars secretly connecting Southern states. It transports readers back to pre-Civil War America and the plantations of the South as a young slave, Cora, makes a desperate bid for freedom.
Cora is a third-generation slave in Georgia who has never set foot off her master’s property and for whom the idea of fleeing is unthinkable-that is, until a fellow slave, Caesar, approaches her about hitching a ride on the rumored Underground Railroad to the North. With a ruthless slave catcher hot on their heels, they embark on a perilous journey through America in search of a freedom that feels increasingly elusive.
This is historical fiction and a searing account of American racism and African American agency. I am very selective about which historical fiction I read and this has certainly not disappointed me.
Although this book isn’t easy or light, and choosing to read a book about slavery means choosing to immerse yourself in brutality, violence, and inhumanity, it is deeply moving and very powerful and is a necessary read.
Review by Jenny @ Great Escape Books