I recommend The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead primarily because I believe that it’s relevant to the current political, social, and emotional climate, but also because it’s a phenomenally well-written book that gives an honest insight into what slavery was like. And while we all know that slavery was unbearable and horrible beyond belief (I hope), there’s a lot of emotion and thought process specific to that time that we’re just not very aware of.
The Underground Railroad helps bring those to light, and the balance of historical fact and fiction really helps make that point. The history comes in through the author’s research into the psychological workings of a plantation, and how people who were raped, tortured, and humiliated on the daily would act, while the fiction comes in with the representation of the Underground Railroad as something similar to a modern-day subway system. The two are perfectly balanced and neither takes away from the other. It’s a stupendous book that I would recommend to anyone and everyone.
—Helena Koffigoh ’23