The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, review by Susan Gusho
Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad is unrelenting, brutal, astonishing, inventive, and magnificent! Cora, a young slave on a pre-Civil War Georgia cotton plantation, takes her chance for escape on the Underground Railroad, a literal network of subterranean rails, trains, and stations. Each state in which she emerges, Gulliver-like, presents a different constellation of savage racism and nearly insurmountable obstacles. Whitehead makes you feel the crush of the slavery juggernaut both on a bodily level as Cora fights for her actual survival and in an equally insidious social and cultural context. Read this book to experience exactly what Ta-Nehisi Coates is so mad about when he says the violation and murder of African Americans form the backbone of the American dream. You cannot look away; it’s a book you won’t forget.