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The Underground Railroad Audiobook

The Underground Railroad

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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award Winner 2016

Amazon.Com Number One Book of the Year 2016

Number One New York Times Best Seller

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.

In Whitehead's razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated boxcar pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But its placid surface masks an infernal scheme designed for its unknowing black inhabitants. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher sent to find Cora, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. At each stop on her journey, Cora encounters a different world.

As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America, from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once the story of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history.

©2016 Colson Whitehead (P)2016 Little Brown Book Group

What the Critics Say

"Whitehead is on a roll: the reviews have been sublime." (The Guardian)
"Luminous, furious, wildly inventive." (The Observer)
"Hands down one of the best, if not the best, book I've read this year." (Stylist)
"Dazzling." (New York Review of Books)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (76 )
5 star
 (40)
4 star
 (21)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.3 (71 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.4 (71 )
5 star
 (42)
4 star
 (20)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Antonio Konitsiotis London, UK 03/02/2017
    Antonio Konitsiotis London, UK 03/02/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    13
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    Story
    "Powerful storytelling"

    incredible acting and an amazing and heart wrenching story means this is a must. Especially poignant with the rampant bigotry and racism some factions of politics want to spread in the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    avagardro 19/01/2017
    avagardro 19/01/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    7
    4
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    Story
    "cora captivated me. "

    Captivating story. I became so involved with Cora I could feel her next to me.
    occasionally I felt the voice sounded a little robotic which was no fault of the narrator. perhaps the recording.
    highly recommended nevertheless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Lincoln, United Kingdom 17/01/2017
    Christopher Lincoln, United Kingdom 17/01/2017 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    116
    23
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    Story
    "A great listen"

    Great introduction to a fascinating subject.
    Well narrated.
    Hope there is a follow up to Coras life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sunflower 05/01/2017
    sunflower 05/01/2017

    to read is one of life's greatest pleasures. to hear (audible) is becoming another! me? retired, female, traveller.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    Story
    "Humanity at its worst; humanity at its best"

    Story, tho based on history, excellently good. Appalling yet uplifting.
    Reader excellent; her manner and "voices" hit the spot, throughout.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suswati 03/01/2017
    Suswati 03/01/2017 Member Since 2016

    Obsessed with psychological thrillers, crime, mystery and dystopian fictions. A good drama now and again. A harsh critic at times.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
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    66
    66
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    Story
    "Powerful, epic, a real look into inhumanity"

    Listening to this is obviously a struggle, the content of slavery is not something that can be trivialised so be warned.

    While Colson Whitehead did not get into much character building, the focus on the underground railroad itself is detailed and descriptive. The protagonist Cora serves as a good barometer in understanding the level of horror that many African Americans faced hence the writer does not seem to concentrate on creating emotive backgrounds for each character.

    Nevertheless, the terrifying incidents leave the listener empathising with the characters as it reflects the lack of safety and constant fear they had to face. It is a rollercoaster listen, starting off slow but still horrifying, culminating in more and more terrible situations. The performer is a little stagnant at times probably because it reads more as a factual piece than autobiographical.

    A 21st century tribute to the generations who have suffered.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel 27/12/2016
    Mel 27/12/2016 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Gritty and Bleak"

    great performance and a great story, but its not a light listen! the main character Cora is likeable and you really get drawn in to her story and want her to succeed. there are twists and turns in the story but the gritty realism keeps you grounded.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzy 02/11/2016
    Suzy 02/11/2016

    Love books both fiction & non-fiction, but fairly new to audio books. Other interests inc country music, walking, heritage and travel.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
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    74
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    Story
    "Disappointingly & underwhelming slave tale"

    I wanted to love this but I couldn't. The premise of the story is set in the southern US slave states and the life of Cora who runs away from slavery. I enjoyed some of the plantation descriptions which detail her life and little touches like her trying to keep a small patch of land to grow vegetables. But overall I felt her character didn't really grow and develop. It was a slow, boring listen once she had run and, at times, I didn't understand what was happening. It definitely has potential with some well written passages and a subtlety that hints at some of the worse aspects -like how doctors see the women to stop them reproducing, but it just lacks forward movement. I don't want lots of action and adventure but this was lots of the same thing over and over. Sadly I can't recommend.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil Burgess Hill, United Kingdom 27/01/2017
    Neil Burgess Hill, United Kingdom 27/01/2017 Member Since 2015

    Love cars, love listening to books, love the summer

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    25
    13
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    Performance
    Story
    "Very confusing, very little story, loads history"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Only a pure historian as it has no real story line and no action


    Would you ever listen to anything by Colson Whitehead again?

    Not sure, but no probably if it is the same


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Sorry, no idea, but assume it is exact


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    boredom and could not wait for it to end as I tried and tried all the way to the end


    Any additional comments?

    A very confusing book that gave me a lot of history but left me feeling like I wanted to switch it off.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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