The Underground Railroad

BY Colson Whitehead
Book Information1/1/1/US/DD/2016/?  •  240x163x28  •  666  •   Pulitzer'17   •   NBA'16 
The National Book Award just announced its 2016 winners, and Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” won the Fiction prize. The underground railroad alludes to the network of safehouses and escape device that the abolitionists maintained to help the black slaves in the South escape to the North and Canada as free men and women. "The Underground Railroad" also won the 2017 Pulitzer prize.

It is an important book to read, especially in today’s Trump-led nationalistic, ethnic-centric, xenophobic new world order, except that this time, there is no abolitionist states to escape to. Michiko Kakutani, the doyenne of book criticism, calls it a “potent, almost hallucinatory novel that leaves the reader with a devastating understanding of the terrible human costs of slavery. Juan Gabriel Vásquez, in a separate review, highlights that the book is “also about the myriad ways in which black history has too often been stolen by white narrators”, and that it is a brave and necessary book “in its exploration of the foundational sins of America.”

Together with Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout”, which won the Man Booker prize last month, these two impressive fictions by black American writers capture the zeitgeist of modern time racism, whether overt or covert.

Along with Whitehead's work, we also have three finalists. Jacqueline Woodson's "Another Brooklyn" and Paulette Jiles' "New of the World" are NBA finalists, while Deborah Levy's "Hot Milk" is a 2016 Man Booker prize finalist. 

This is the first edition first printing with first state dust jacket that is unclipped, showing the correct price of $26.95 on the front flap. The book is bound in black board with cream-clothed board and black lettering at spine. The copyright page should state "First Edition" with a full line number. This is also a signed copy issued by the publisher, of unknown quantity. The author signed on a separate tipped-in page not found in the usual first printing trade edition. With the book winning the NBA and poise to also do well in the Pulitzer, the publisher-issued signed edition is preferred to flat signed edition to minimize the risk of getting counterfeit signature.

This book is still very common and a VG copy can be purchased from eBay or Abebooks at $50 and above. This is a NF copy with a NF dust jacket.


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