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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

Doubleday, 2016

The Underground Railroad becomes a real train ride to freedom from Georgia through the Carolinas, Tennessee and Indiana, as Colson calls the reader aboard to vicariously experience the cruelty of slavery.

“What a world it is, Cora thought, that makes a living prison into your only haven. Was she out of bondage or in its web: how to describe the status of a runaway? Freedom was a thing that shifted as you looked at it, the way a forest is dense with trees up close but from outside, from the empty meadow, you see its true limits. Being free had nothing to do with chains or how much space you had.”

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Mar 18, 2021

I really LOVED this book! Especially Cora, and Ridgeway's twisted obsession with her. I liked that Whitehead managed to weave in elements of the Tuskegee experiments and the idea that some people have that the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad as key plot points in the story.

I read The Underground Railroad about the same time as Underground Airlines, (which was about an alternative universe where the South won the Civil War), but The Underground Railroad was much better.

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