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Ratings and Reviews

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4.1 out of 5
(135)
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  • 8 person found this review helpful

    8 people found this review helpful

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    An absorbing but disturbing story . .

    Colson Whitehead's novel "The Underground Railroad" tells the story of a Cora, a young slave in the American South. The horrors of slavery are vividly depicted, and the book is not an easy read. Whitehead takes some liberties with history, and some reviewers have said that he mixes history with fantasy. For example, for those unfamiliar with this history, while Whitehead depicts the underground railroad as a real railroad, of course it wasn't. Rather it was a link of safe houses from the American South to Canada which, with the help of abolitionists and their supporters, allowed runaway slaves to reach freedom. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 and later a tougher law in 1850 meant that to be truly free runaway slaves had to escape the US, and many runaway slaves entered Canada (largely Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia) as a result. I found it very hard to put this novel down; reading it is well worth the time, even if it causes you, as it did me, to lose a night's sleep!
  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

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    Very moving

    Profoundly moving. Shines a light on the America of today. What a wonderful imagination to create the railway!
  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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    The Underground Railroad

    This gave new insight to the way southern white people really felt about African Americans as well we the horrible consequences to the slaves
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    sad subject

    I think this is an interesting, important and terrible subject matter. Everyone needs to learn some about it if you haven't. I think the author could have made things more personal. I didn't feel as emotionally involved as I would have liked.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Unique take on the Underground Railroad!

    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead tells the story of Cora and her life as a slave. Cora is a slave in Georgia. Cora is the daughter of Mabel and the granddaughter of Ajarry. After Cora’s mother escaped, Cora was alone. Cora is treated horribly by the other slaves. She gets thrown out of the where she was living with her mother and is forced to move into the Hob (a house for the slave outcasts). One day Cora is approached by Caesar. Caesar is a new to the plantation. His previous owner was a kind woman who taught him to read. She had promised Caesar his freedom upon her death, but she did not keep her promise. Caesar tells Cora about the Underground Railroad. The two of them form a plan and one day they take off. Unfortunately, things do not go quite as planned. Lovey, a fellow slave, follows them (she had been watching them). They are going through the swamps to make capture more difficult, but they did not anticipate hog hunters. The hunters realize they are runaway slaves and attempt to capture them. One of the hunters (just a boy really) ends up dead from a rock. Cora is now wanted for murder. Lovey ends up getting captured. Cora and Caesar quickly make their way to the first stop for them on the Underground Railroad. They are in for quite a journey. Some of the stops will be quick and others will be quite lengthy. Will they ever be completely free or will they continue to be hunted (especially Cora)? Ridgeway is a slave hunter who has something to prove. Ridgeway was given the task of finding Cora’s mother, Mabel. He was never able to capture her. Ridgeway is very determined to return Cora to her owner. To find out what happens to Cora and Caesar, you will have to read The Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad is a very dark novel. The majority of the novel focuses on Cora (poor Caesar). I found the writing to be awkward and difficult to read (I just did not like the author's writing style). The book lacks flow. First we are with Cora, then it jumps to someone else, then back to Cora, and then to another character. It will also go back in time to tell you the backstory of the latest character (when Cora meets someone new on the Underground Railroad). It makes it hard to read and to get into the story. I was able to finish the book, but I did not like it or enjoy it (sorry). You need to be aware that The Underground Railroad contains very graphic violence. Some of the violence is very disturbing and upsetting. I give The Underground Railroad 2 out of 5 stars. I did like Colson Whitehead’s take on the Underground Railroad. He had tunnels running all over the United States and actual trains. I was curious, though, how people above ground did not hear the loud engines of the trains. Mr. Whitehead did capture the time and place quite accurately. The ending was extremely dissatisfying.
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