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The Connect Book Club
Book for April 2017
Group 1
The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead

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. But matters do not go as planned. 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.

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
Colson Whitehead (born November 6, 1969) is an American novelist. He is the author of six novels, including his debut work, the 1999 novel The Intuitionist, and the National Book Award-winning novel The Underground Railroad. A recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship, Whitehead lives in New York City.