Book Rating (310)
Narrator Rating (49)

The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

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Bahni Turpin

10 Hours 44 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

August 2016

Audio Book Summary

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.

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  • Stacie B

    Best book I’ve read in a while. Wanted to find out what happened to amazing, strong Cora.

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  • Eileen M

    Very well develop characters and story line. Loved it.

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  • Kimberly Eisner

    Slow beginning, but overall a very good book. I enjoyed the narration and was captivated once it picked up.

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  • Cynthia R.

    What a storyteller and based in history that is essential for us to understand and think about

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  • Latoya L.

    It had it's good parts, however it was similar to other slave/runaway books. I thought it would be much better especially being an Oprah's book club favorite. #book41of2019 #bookworm #whatsnext

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  • Kimberly C.

    Found it difficult to follow, back and forth and never really had a proper ending.

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  • Catherine S

    A tragic story of mans inhumanity to man which has taken centuries to change and sadly not yet completely remedied. Well written and very well narrated.

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  • Bernicetha M

    This book was compelling from the very beginning to the very end. Cora was such a strong character. I was shocked when I reach the end. I felt the story left me wanting more....but maybe that was the point.

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  • Robin R

    I had a difficult time staying focused while listening to this book.

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  • Kari H

    This was a great story that takes you back in time. It helps one understand the era a bit better. Narration was great too!

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