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The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club)

The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club) Cover

The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club)

By Colson Whitehead

Doubleday Books, Hardcover, 9780385542364, 320pp.

Publication Date: August 2, 2016

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Description
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.


About the Author
Colson Whitehead is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, the 2016 National Book Award, and named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, as well as The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York. He is also a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships. He lives in New York City.


NPR
Friday, Nov 18, 2016

Whitehead was recently awarded the National Book Award for his novel about a young slave who has escaped a Georgia plantation and is heading north. Originally broadcast Aug. 8, 2016. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Monday, Aug 8, 2016

As a child, Whitehead was surprised to learn that escaped slaves did not ride an actual subway. His new novel follows Cora, a young slave who has escaped a Georgia plantation and is heading north. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Saturday, Aug 6, 2016

NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Colson Whitehead about his new book, The Underground Railroad, in which slaves ride a a real railroad through time to see racism in different eras. More at NPR.org

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