The Underground Railroad

Author(s): Colson Whitehead


#1 New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Winner of the National Book Award
Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize  
One of the Best books of the Year: The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, HuffPost, Esquire, Minneapolis Star Tribune  

Cora is a young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood--where greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him. In Colson Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the terrors of the antebellum era, he weaves in the saga of our nation, from the brutal abduction of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is both the gripping tale of one woman's will to escape the horrors of bondage--and a powerful meditation on the history we all share.


RRP $22.99(AUD) (56% off)

Add to Cart

Add to Wishlist

Product Information

Winner Pulitzer Prize 2017
Winner of National Book Awards: Fiction 2016
Shortlisted for Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction 2017
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize  2017

It has invaded both my sleeping and waking thoughts ... Each character feels alive with a singular humanity ... Whitehead is on a roll, the reviews have been sublime -- Bim Adewunmi Guardian

An engrossing and harrowing novel Sunday Times

[A] brutal, vital, devastating novel...This is a luminous, furious, wildly inventive tale that not only shines a bright light on one of the darkest periods of history, but also opens up thrilling new vistas for the form of the novel itself -- Alex Preston Observer

This thrilling tale of escape from a deep south plantation takes in terror, beauty and the history of human tragedy..This uncanny novel never attempts to deliver a message - instead it tells one of the most compelling stories I have ever read. Cora's strong, graceful hands touch on the greatest tragedies of our history Cynthia Bond, Guardian

It's so good it's hard to praise it without whipping out the cliches: it's an elegant, devastating powerhouse of a book, following a young black woman all over America as she tries to escape the horrors of slavery. When it was published with Oprah's imprimatur, in August, it was universally acclaimed. It deserved it -- Michelle Dean Guardian

One of the best, if not the best, book I've read this year ... Whitehead never exploits his subject matter, and in fact it's the sparseness of the novel that makes it such a punch in the gut -- Sarah Shaffi Stylist

My book of the year by some distance...It's a profound and important novel, but more than anything it's an absurdly good read, gripping you in its tightly wound plot, astonishing you with its leaps of imagination. If Whitehead doesn't win every prize going next year, I'll appear on Saturday Review in my underpants -- Alex Preston Observer, Best Fiction of 2016

Whitehead is a superb storyteller ... [he] brilliantly intertwines his allegory with history ... writing at the peak of his game ... Whitehead's achievement is truly remarkable: by giving the Underground Railroad a new mythology, he has found a way of confronting other myths, older and persistent, about the United States. His book cannot have enough readers --Telegraph

It is an extraordinary novel, a rich, confident work that will deservedly win - on the basis of literary merit as well as moral purpose ... History and human experience as well as an artist's obligation to tell the truth have shaped a virtuoso novel that should be read by every American as well as readers across the world. And it will be, it should be -- Eileen Battersby Irish Times

An utterly transporting piece of storytelling -- Alex Heminsley The Pool

Bestselling author Colson Whitehead's novel is a searing indictment of slavery with a detailed inventory of man's inhumanity to man - and Cora's flight is a harrowing and shocking trip for the reader Daily Mail A stunning, brutal and hugely imaginative book. It's a favourite of both Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama. It is painful history re-imagined in a powerful and brilliant way Emerald St

Recommended by none other than Obama AND Oprah, The Underground Railroad arrives deserving every last drop of hype that's come its way ... There are many twists and turns in Cora's long, treacherous journey towards freedom and while The Underground Railroad is at times brutal and disturbing, it's also hopeful and an addictive, compulsive read. After reading it, a corner of your heart will always belong to Cora. An instant classic -- Sarra Manning Red

Reaches the marrow of your bones, settles in and stays forever ... a tour de force -- Oprah Winfrey

This bravura novel reimagines that same network as a real subterranean railway, upon which a girl named Cora flees the slave-catcher Ridgeway. Throughout, horrific experiences are rendered in lapidary prose, but it's Cora's daring that provides the story's redemptive oomph --Mail on Sunday

Inventive and hard-hitting Metro

It is a bold way of reimagining the slave experience and, in the capable hands of Whitehead, succeeds triumphantly Mail on Sunday Brutal, tender, thrilling and audacious -- Naomi Alderman Guardian

An enchanting tale ... full of vivid images, learned allusions and astute observations ... The most important and acclaimed American novel of the past year --London Review of Books

I stayed up way too late to finish this... It will be haunting me in the best way Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

A fantastical picaresque through the dark side of American history --Daily Telegraph

Thrilling and unsentimental --Scotsman

The Underground Railroad is a noble descendant of the great narratives of slavery, and among the very finest of its novels -- Wesley Stace Times Literary Supplement

An audaciously imagined and profoundly moving novel -- Eithne Farry Express

Stunning and unsentimental ... required reading -- Jenny Niven Herald

A charged and important novel that pushed at the boundaries of fiction -- Justine Jordan Guardian, Best Books of 2016

Leaves the reader with a devastating understanding of the terrible human costs of slavery ... with echoes of Toni Morrison's Beloved, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and with brush strokes borrowed from Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka and Jonathan Swift ... Colson Whitehead has told a story essential to our understanding of the American past and the American present -- Michiko Kakutani New York Times

The Underground Railroad isn't the modern slave narrative it first appears to be. It is something grander and more piercing, a dazzling antebellum anti-myth...Whitehead's prose is quick as a runaway's footsteps New York Review of Books

A book that resonates with deep emotional timbre. The Underground Railroad reanimates the slave narrative, disrupts our settled sense of the past and stretches the ligaments of history right into our own era ... The story charges along with incredible power ... The canon of essential novels about America's peculiar institution just grew by one -- Ron Charles Washington Post

[The Underground Railroad] is really good - good, in fact, in just about every way a novel can be good ... a grave and fully realized masterpiece, a weird blend of history and fantasy that will have critics rightfully making comparisons to Toni Morrison and Gabriel Garcia-Marquez Boston Globe

This book should be required reading in classrooms across the country alongside Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird. If this isn't Colson Whitehead's masterpiece, it's definitely the best book of the year and maybe the most important work of the decade--Chicago Tribune


Colson Whitehead is the New York Times bestselling author of The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. A Pulitzer Prize finalist and a recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.

General Fields

  • : 9780708898406
  • : Little, Brown Book Group Limited
  • : Fleet
  • : September 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Colson Whitehead
  • : Paperback
  • : 813/.54
  • : very good
  • : 400