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WFHM Book Club: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

January 17 @ 6:00 pm 7:30 pm

Join the museum staff for our January 2022 book club meeting. This month, we are reading The Underground Railroad (2018) by Colson Whitehead. Our book discussion will be held on Tuesday, January 17. The novel explores the horror and tragedy of slavery and a young woman’s escape from bondage. Registration is limited. See below for details and a link to sign up. View and Download our Reader’s Guide.

About the Museum’s Book Club

The museum’s book club meetings include a casual discussion with museum staff and neighbors about a work of historical fiction or nonfiction. Books typically explore local and regional history or exhibit themes. There is no obligation to participate in every book discussion. We encourage you to register for the book club meetings that most interest you. There is no obligation to participate in every book discussion, and it is okay if you haven’t finished the book by the time we meet.

About the Book

In January 2023, we are reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. 

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, this #1 New York Times bestseller chronicles a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. The basis for the acclaimed original Amazon Prime Video series directed by Barry Jenkins.

Cora is a 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.

“An American masterpiece.” —NPR

“Stunningly daring.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A triumph.” —The Washington Post 

“Potent. . . .  Devastating. . . . Essential.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Whitehead’s best work and an important American novel.” —The Boston Globe

“Electrifying. . . . Tense, graphic, uplifting and informed, this is a story to share and remember.” —People

“Heart-stopping.” —Oprah Winfrey

“The Underground Railroad is inquiring into the very soul of American democracy. . . . A stirring exploration of the American experiment.” —The Wall Street Journal

“A brilliant reimagining of antebellum America.”—The New Republic

“Colson Whitehead’s book blends the fanciful and the horrific, the deeply emotional and the coolly intellectual. Whathe comes up with is an American masterpiece.”—Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

The Underground Railroad enters the pantheon of . . . the Great American Novels. . . . A wonderful reminder of whatgreat literature is supposed to do: open our eyes, challengeus, and leave us changed by the end.” —Esquire

“Masterful, urgent. . . . One of the finest novels written aboutour country’s still unabsolved original sin.” —USA Today

“[An] ingenious novel. . . . A successful amalgam: a realistically imagined slave narrative and a crafty allegory; a tense adventure tale and a meditation on America’s defining values.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Perfectly balances the realism of its subject with fabulist touches that render it freshly illuminating.” —Time

About the Author

Colson Whitehead is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, which in 2016 won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award and was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, as well as The Noble HustleZone OneSag HarborThe IntuitionistJohn Henry DaysApex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York. He is also a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships. He lives in New York City.

How to Get a Copy of the Book

Books can be purchased from Page 158. Please let the store know that you are participating in the museum’s book club to receive a special discount. If you are in the local area, the bookstore can deliver orders of $20 or more to these zip codes: 27587 and 27571. They also offer curbside pickup 11 am-6 pm Monday thru Saturday. Books can also be shipped to your home.

Books can also be requested through Wake County Public Libraries. WCPL also offers large print, audio, and eBook options.

Register for this Event

View our Reader’s Guide.

414 N Main Street
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587 United States
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