HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
Loading...

Underground Airlines

by Ben H. Winters

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8524615,837 (3.91)98
  1. 10
    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (elenchus)
    elenchus: That popular culture phenomenon of the uncanny twins, two works appearing together yet unrelated in authorship, production, inspiration. Why do they appear together? In this case, each is compelling enough to read based on their own, but for me irresistable now they've shown up onstage at the same time. Ben Winters's Underground Airlines a bizarro underground railroad, updated (for reasons left implicit) for air travel; Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad making the escape trail a concrete reality. Each also addresses our world, in between stations.… (more)
  2. 00
    American War: A novel by Omar El Akkad (sturlington)
    sturlington: Alternate realities set in the South; both compelling and thrilling reads.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 98 mentions

English (44)  Spanish (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
I liked this book when viewed as a personal story. While the elements of this alternate history are detailed and clearly well thought through, imagining a usa where slavery is legal in modern day just didnt convince me. However, if we lived in a world like Mr Winters describes, i could feel for a characted liks Victor.

Victor (also known as Brother and a host of other names) is wrestling with demons. Born into slavery, escaped to the free north only to be captured and conscripted into working for the u.s. marshals as a hunter of runaway slaves. Every day for the last 6 years, he finds people who escaped and returns them into bondage. His latest assignment, Jackdaw, is a puzzle. The file is a mess, incomplete and suspicious. But Victor is making progress, slow and steady. Along the way, he starts to make his first real connection to another person, Martha, a white woman staying at the hotel with her young biracial son.

(Spoiler alert)
Then, there is a break in the case and Victor figures out where Jackdaw is hiding. But Victor doesnt call his handler in Washington, as he had 214 times before, he finds the runner himself. And finding Jackdaw opens up a whole new set of questions leading to new twists and turns. I enjoyed the quest for answers predominately due to the personal struggle of the protagonist. What he has suffered and what he has done and what he is willing to do for freedom.

Thumbs up. ( )
  sbecon | Feb 26, 2019 |
Very well crafted alternate history book about slavery in the USA if it had never been abolished. ( )
  Guide2 | Nov 19, 2018 |
I enjoyed this book. It could have been better, but I still give it four stars. Would love to see another novel where the assassination of Lincoln and the history laid down in this novel is explored. ( )
  autumnturner76 | Oct 4, 2018 |
The title isn't literal. It refers to the modern equivalent of the underground railroad that sneaked escaped slaves from the American south to freedom in the north. In the alternate reality Winters imagines, Lincoln was assassinated before he took office, compromise prevented the Civil War, and in the present there remain the Hard Four states where slavery is still legal. Victor is an escaped slave who's been forced to work with the US Marshals to hunt down other escaped slaves. All Victor cares about is himself. All he wants is to remain free, or the semblance of freedom that marks his life, the ability to move around the non-slave states, staying in nice hotels, eating good food, and trying to not think about the tracker inbedded in his spine. But his latest case, to find a runaway slave called Jackdaw who reportedly is hiding in Indianapolis turns out to not be the routine assignment he'd thought, and the things he learns cause him to question what he knows about the country and himself.

This novel works on many levels, but mostly, it's a personal journey for Victor and an incredibly relevant commentary on the state of the US today. The provocative title caught my attention in the bookstore, the blurb made me buy it, and the words inside lead me to highly recommend it. ( )
  ShellyS | Jul 30, 2018 |
http://tinyurl.com/ycsu99gb

It's taken me a while to write this review because I couldn't get over the fact that Winters - as a white man - wrote an altered-history thriller from the point of view of a black man.

The book's themes fit squarely inside this nation's continued conversation about race and our racial struggles. You could see it merely as a rumination of how we would now be living our lives if Lincoln had been shot earlier than he was. No, there's nothing wrong with a Gedankenexperiment, in general. But I can't imagine that this book isn't in some way a slap in the face to African Americans. In other words, Winters is showing a world that would be far worse than the racial dynamic we currently have. How can we not interpret that - at least to some degree - as essentially saying "well, it could be worse! maybe you're not so badly off?".

On the face of it, this is a stellar thriller - it rolls right along, has a zillion twists and turns, and you both engage with and root for all the characters, not just the main one. (Even when you lose sympathy for our main character because of his truly abysmal past choices.) I can see there's even a sequel to this, based on the last chapter. I just find it difficult to understand how his editors and publishers let this one out the door without at least a side note on WHY Winters crafted this tale. I've read no other critical reviews of the book, but I would venture to guess I'm not the only one that finished it with a nasty aftertaste in my mouth. ( )
  khage | Jul 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For my kids, and their friends
First words
"So," said the young priest. "I think that I'm the man you're looking for."
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316261246, Hardcover)

It is the present-day, and the world is as we know it: smartphones, social networking and Happy Meals. Save for one thing: the Civil War never occurred.

A gifted young black man calling himself Victor has struck a bargain with federal law enforcement, working as a bounty hunter for the US Marshall Service. He's got plenty of work. In this version of America, slavery continues in four states called "the Hard Four." On the trail of a runaway known as Jackdaw, Victor arrives in Indianapolis knowing that something isn't right--with the case file, with his work, and with the country itself.

A mystery to himself, Victor suppresses his memories of his childhood on a plantation, and works to infiltrate the local cell of a abolitionist movement called the Underground Airlines. Tracking Jackdaw through the back rooms of churches, empty parking garages, hotels, and medical offices, Victor believes he's hot on the trail. But his strange, increasingly uncanny pursuit is complicated by a boss who won't reveal the extraodinary stakes of Jackdaw's case, as well as by a heartbreaking young woman and her child who may be Victor's salvation. Victor himself may be the biggest obstacle of all--though his true self remains buried, it threatens to surface.

Victor believes himself to be a good man doing bad work, unwilling to give up the freedom he has worked so hard to earn. But in pursuing Jackdaw, Victor discovers secrets at the core of the country's arrangement with the Hard Four, secrets the government will preserve at any cost.

Underground Airlines is a ground-breaking novel, a wickedly imaginative thriller, and a story of an America that is more like our own than we'd like to believe.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 13 Jan 2016 17:04:39 -0500)

"It is the present-day, and the world is as we know it: smartphones, social networking and Happy Meals. Save for one thing: the Civil War never occurred. A gifted young Black man calling himself Victor has struck a bargain with federal law enforcement, working as a bounty hunter for the US Marshall Service. He's got plenty of work. In this version of America, slavery continues in four states called "the Hard Four." On the trail of a runaway known as Jackdaw, Victor arrives in Indianapolis knowing that something isn't right-- with the case file, with his work, and with the country itself. A mystery to himself, Victor suppresses his memories of his childhood on a plantation, and works to infiltrate the local cell of an abolitionist movement called the Underground Airlines. Tracking Jackdaw through the back rooms of churches, empty parking garages, hotels, and medical offices, Victor believes he's hot on the trail. But his strange, increasingly uncanny pursuit is complicated by a boss who won't reveal the extraordinary stakes of Jackdaw's case, as well as by a heartbreaking young woman and her child who may be Victor's salvation. Victor himself may be the biggest obstacle of all-- though his true self remains buried, it threatens to surface. Victor believes himself to be a good man doing bad work, unwilling to give up the freedom he has worked so hard to earn. But in pursuing Jackdaw, Victor discovers secrets at the core of the country's arrangement with the Hard Four, secrets the government will preserve at any cost"--… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.91)
0.5
1
1.5
2 6
2.5 2
3 39
3.5 19
4 98
4.5 18
5 34

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 133,351,488 books! | Top bar: Always visible