Colson Whitehead, a best-selling author, delivers a ground-breaking new novel about a young woman who's been a slave at a cotton plantation in the United States (Georgia) for as long as she can remember. Unable to suffer from the constant humiliation and abuse, she decides to do the most unspeakable thing for a slave - to run away from the plantation and become a free human being.
Cora knows that every last slave in Georgia is living an oppressive, painful life, but she's probably suffering the most. Even her fellow folks from Africa don't really like her, and soon she'll become a woman, which grants her an even bigger set of horrors. So, that's why when Caesar, a man who arrived from Virginia, speaks to her about a secret underground railroad, she chooses to join him and together they dare to defy the rules and try to escape the terrible life that they've been dealt. However, the plan doesn't go nearly as smoothly as they planned, and Cora is forced to kill a young white kid who tries to stop her.
The two manage to get on a train and leave, but the masters are coming after them. Cora and her new friend make a stop in South Carolina, in a town that everybody thought was the closest thing to heaven on Earth. But, they soon find out that it's just a mask, and the black folks there are treated just the same. Besides, a slave catcher is getting dangerously close, so, they have to run again.
So, Cora is constantly on the road, trying to find the one and only place where she can feel like a free woman. The Underground Railroad is like a journey through all kinds of different worlds that the main character visits for a brief moment. The pre-Civil War years were truly terrifying for the African-American people, and Whitehead's new book shows us that even though this country has a lot of wrongs to right in terms of racial discrimination, there's a lot of good done over the years.