What readers think of Underground Airlines, plus links to write your own review.

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Underground Airlines

by Ben H. Winters

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters X
Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2016, 336 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2017, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Gary Presley
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Reviews

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There are currently 27 reader reviews for Underground Airlines
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Sherrie R. (Fort Worth, TX)

Unstoppable Stunning Suspense!
The premise that the Civil War never existed, living in our current world of social media, with huge data systems that render us "on the grid" 24/7.

Nothing is ever as it seems on the surface - you can never be sure of anyone's motivations. It moves with such speed as Victor moves, changing his personality to fit each situation he finds himself in. Who does he trust? How does he fell about what he does? How will he evolve? It is a very edgy book with dark violent undertones, you can never be sure what will happen next.

After only a few pages, I had slipped myself into his skin- and was unable to put the book down. I was convinced that author was black. Aside from being one of the best suspense novels I have read, I came away with a new perspective on race from a black point of view.
Jan Z-R

Underground Airlines
What a good book! It was also disturbing in a lot of ways - the "alternative history - what if?" aspect, the relevancy of white privileges in the book and currently, prejudices, and the ability of so many people to ignore inhumanity of any size scale going on around us. The cruelty wasn't always "in your face graphic", for which I was thankful, but I think because it was quite often suggested rather than graphic it added to the tension and suspense of the novel.
I found the character of Victor very well drawn and unique, and even though he was hunting escaped slaves I was sympathetic to his powerless situation. I found it interesting that nearly every main character in the novel was somehow powerless in different ways, and I sort of wanted to cheer when now and then the power shifted to the good guys!
The ending didn't leave me hanging at all, but I can see a sequel with Victor as the main character again. I am glad I read this book, and I would definitely read a second one.
Beth T. (Savannah, GA)

Fascinating and Thoroughly Enjoyable
I found Underground Airlines to be absolutely fascinating. Usually I'm not much for alternate reality scenarios, but this one grabbed me from page one and didn't let go. Granted, I'm not a hugely analytical reader. I read for pleasure and don't overthink or nitpick, because I believe that when an author wants you to suspend your current reality and take a walk into his, you should do that. I did, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and absolutely recommend it as a real thought-provoking change of pace. Well done!
Marion C. (Litchfield, NH)

Underground Airlines
What would our lives be like today if four southern states did not ratify the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution? "Underground Airlines" by Ben Winters is such an intriguing, fantasy thriller, drawing from the 1871 history of the United States. Would it be similar to our lives today or drastically different? Although the title is an oxymoron, the novel suggests what could happen and how our lives would be today in 2016.

Captured by this excellent novel, I pulled an all-nighter. Winters is an award winning author that will have me eagerly awaiting his next novel, and reading his prior eight books.
Lauren T. (Orlando, FL)

Underground Airlines by Ben Winters
What if the Civil War had never happened? How would we deal with the issue of slavery in the modern world? That is the premise of this book by an author who, until now, I hadn't heard of. Winters has re-imagined our world just as it is, with one huge difference-- slavery still exists in four states. He has created a believable, and frightening, story about what might happen in our country if those four states were still stuck in their pre-Civil War attitudes and behaviors. We see the world through the eyes of Victor (or is that his real name?), a black man who struggles with the world as it is and what he is forced to do to live in that world. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I now plan on reading the rest of Winters' books. Thank you, BookBrowse, for introducing me to this author.
Shirley L. (Norco, LA)

A Dark Fascinating Read
The topic of this alternative history novel is very dark and horrifying. It is a very well written thriller. The characters are complex and the reader cares about their fate. Plot details are clear and the pages turn quickly. Two themes which I found to be particularly powerful were: "Everything happens. Nothing is unbelievable." and What does it means to be a slave (both literally and figuratively) and what is real psychological freedom. The plot was very original and thought provoking. A great very relevant read for these times.
Power Reviewer
takingmytime

The Day of Difference
Victor/Jim/Brother is a contracted, owned bounty hunter, a tracker, by any and all names. He is a black man, forced into hunting black men. This is set in the present day. The catch is that our present day is not as we know it to be. The Civil War never took place, and even though slavery was finally abolished, there are still 4 states in the United States, called the Hard Four, that still condone and practice slavery.

This story relates one such case for Victor, tracking a run away slave, and then the twists begin.

The writing moved along very well as it describes our changed but present day. Under this new framework the characters are believable and the plot viable.

A new author for me, but one I hope to continue to read.

3.5 stars for the story and .5 star for the premise of the novel.
Power Reviewer
Sandi W.

Suspend reality and just read....
Victor/Jim/Brother is a contracted, owned bounty hunter, a tracker, by any and all names. He is a black man, forced into hunting black men. This is set in the present day. The catch is that our present day is not as we know it to be. The Civil War never took place, and even though slavery was finally abolished, there are still 4 states in the United States, called the Hard Four, that still condone and practice slavery.
This story relates one such case for Victor, tracking a run away slave, and then the twists begin.
The writing moved along very well as it describes our changed but present day. Under this new framework the characters are believable and the plot viable.
A new author for me, but one I hope to continue to read.
3.5 stars for the story and .5 star for the premise of the novel.

Beyond the Book:
  The Underground Railroad

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