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The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

This is book number 66 of an exclusive edition
of just 100 copies

Title: The Underground Railroad

Author:  Colson Whitehead

ISBN:  9780708898390

Weight:  792g

Exclusive numbered and signed first edition,
first printing



Sorry, sold out

Our price:  £125.00

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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 box car 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.

Winner of the 2016 US National Book Award for Fiction and Oprah’s
Book Club selection for August of the same year

Peer & Press Reviews

It’s so good it’s hard to praise it without whipping out the cliches: it’s an elegant, devastating powerhouse of a book, following a young black woman all over America as she tries to escape the horrors of slavery.  When it was published with Oprah's imprimatur, in August, it was universally acclaimed.  It deserved it.

Michelle Dean, Guardian

Whitehead is a superb storyteller… [he] brilliantly intertwines his allegory with history… writing at the peak of his game…  Whitehead’s achievement is truly remarkable: by giving the Underground Railroad a new mythology, he has found a way of confronting other myths, older and persistent, about the United States.  His book cannot have enough readers.


Bringing this brutal, vital, devastating novel to a wider audience (it has also been selected by Oprah’s Book Club) will not be the least of Obama’s legacies…  Everything in Whitehead’s narrative is honed to scintillating sharpness…  I haven’t been as simultaneously moved and entertained by a book for many years.  This is a luminous, furious, wildly inventive tale that not only shines a bright light on one of the darkest periods of history, but also opens up thrilling new vistas for the form of the novel itself.

Alex Preston, Observer

Bibliographic Info

Attribute Details
Title: The Underground Railroad
Book Features
Edition / printing: First edition, first printing
Edition background:

A leading London bookshop arranged for to sign and number 100 first editions of his National Book Award-winning title, The Underground Railroad.

The book’s number is one element of a round (35mm diam.), blind embossed impression on the title page.  This has the words ‘EXCLUSIVE SIGNED FIRST EDITION’ around its edge.  Across its middle is the hand written number followed by a slash (/) and the number of copies (in this case, 66 / 100).

Book number: 66 of 100
Overall condition: Fine / Fine (for more info, see our article on condition grades)
Signed: On the title / number authentication page
Book Stats
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Imprint: Fleet
Awards and prizes:

Goodreads Choice Awards 2016 – winner (Historical Fiction)

US National Book Award for Fiction 2016 – winner

Book Club listing: Oprah’s Book Club – August 2016 selection
Publication date:
Printed by: Clays Ltd, Bungay
ISBN 13: 9780708898390
ISBN 10: 0708898394
Format: Hardcover with dust jacket
Pages: 306
Size (h x w x d): 242 x 163 x 30mm
Design Credits
Author photograph: Madeline Whitehead
Jacket design: John Fontana

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