|EBOOK ☧ Underground Airlines ⚕ eBooks or Kindle ePUB free

Just imagine for a moment an establishment spook and modern slave wrapped into one, pressed into service to hunt down and reel back in other escaped slaves, and you ve got yourself a tracker right out of the bad old days of pre civil war A black man forced to do the devil s work Now imagine him in our modern world, where the American Civil War had ended in an economic truce and slavery is alive and well and made so very efficient Hell, just imagine how easy it d be to track down every slave with GPS and have a world tweeting happy PR banalities to hide the horrible truth of slums in our brightest cities, labor camps like private prisons, communities openly and proudly racist and happy to thumb their noses at the rest of the world at just how they ve managed to fool the IRS, twist the legal establishment, and all the while tell themselves just how humane they are to the downtrodden.Wait is this an alternate timeline An excellent What If novel A deeply horrific and oppressive dystopia so very much like the world we ve got now Yes Fancy that.But the point is, we re living it through the devil s eyes, the scared black man in this nightmare world who is forced to do unspeakable things to men and women who should be his brothers, and if you think this is a heavy handed political tale, then think again I got sucked right in just fine and loved the story, it s twists and turns Do you think he finds a way to help his brothers and sisters, and get out of his horrid servitude Does he infiltrate the Underground Railroad ahem, sorry, Airline or does he betray or get betrayed Just how complex does this tale get Pretty complex And Very Satisfying It actually makes me believe that for all the crap we re living through in this world, I m still happy to be here. Talk about a depressing idea for an alternate history book This one explores the concept of what would have happened if the United States had never abolished slavery, and it remains an institution in the present day sigh Well, at least Hitler didn t win the war this time Victor is a former slave who managed to escape to the north, but he was eventually caught by the government and forced to work undercover to help catch poor souls who are trying to use the fabled Underground Airline to escape America His latest case has brought him to Indianapolis where Victor finds inconsistencies about his latest target while he tries to avoid being drawn into the troubles of a white woman he meets at his hotel.Just as he did in his Last Policeman trilogy Ben Winters has conceived of a society that is fascinating to read about, but you wouldn t want to visit there There s a terrifying plausibility to the idea that a compromise struck to avoid the Civil War could have resulted in the continued existence of slavery into modern times, and that it would have been industrialized and modernized in the spirit of American capitalism It s the details that Winters conjures up that really sell it like the idea that while the north is free that racial equality is still at about a 1960s level rather than the 21st century, or that anti slavery people try to buy goods certified as not being made by slave labor The book fails a bit in regards to its main character, and I m not sure why Victor is a pretty fascinating figure as a man forced to betray his own rather than go back into bondage, and while he s conflicted about that he s also damnably good at his job However, by telling us the story only through the first person narrator it feels like it limits the scope of a story that should be wide and epic There was a similar problem with The Last Policeman where my uncertainty about the motivations of the main character there threatened to trip up a top notch end of the world scenario However, I warmed up to Hank Palace in the second book, and it felt like Winters kept making the story intimate and personal as it progressed Here, it s the reverse with Victor being drawn into larger events, but while I found the setting compelling I kept wishing we d get a broader and bigger perspective than he could provide.I m being a tad unfair in that my main dissatisfaction comes from wishing the book was something that it wasn t Winters has written a very interesting alt history with a pretty compelling lead character, but I m left wondering about all the ideas that the book couldn t get into just because it limited itself to his story. Library ebook overdrive The beginning grabbed me right away The narrator didn t know his name for awhile, but it s Victor was sitting in a cafe diner with a younger man a priest, Father Barton The dialogue between these two men is sly covert conniving and gut wrenching sad Victor was once a slave The Priest we wanted to punch him in the guts So the narrator Victor a Chamaeleon of sorts, with different disguise wigs, names, identitiesis a contractor bounty hunter, for the United States Marshall Service In four southern states SLAVERY IS THE LAW this is a science fiction light or time travel light or twist on the timing of historical events it s hard to categorize the genre in one tight package.Its a thrilling ride UNIQUE and surprisingly intimate at the same time This story allows us the reader to imagine how We WILL ABOLISHED SLAVERY in a modern world Gets us thinking It reminded me a little of the book 11 23 63 , by Stephen King Both books have us look at what if history went another way and it could have Also there is a love interest story in here as in Stephen King s book this one is with a white girl and black man so it brings up racial issues on purpose Victor has a job to do find a man name Jackdaw, a runaway slave, but it s mysterious because Victor is a black man who was once a slave himself but is now working for the government helping track down slaves and bring them in Why When he himself was brutally beaten Yikes I said I wasn t writing reviews I ve retired And this book is complex Thrilling very suspenseful a twisty brain teaser thought provoking ultra intriguing and original The main character Victor is a standout memorable guy I enjoyed it 4.5 stars Armed with a tempting and provocatively high concept plot, this new novel shot it s way to the top of my reading list for the year This is a mystery novel that begs to be read, about an alternate present day where the Civil War never happened, and slavery still exists in four Southern states, and about a freed black agent for the Federal Marshalls that infiltrates abolitionist cells to track down runaway slaves I felt obligated to read it, to at least see where the concept goes from there But it seems that this is what the author is banking on as well, because that great concept is really all there is Beyond the cool premise is a book that moves like a stumbling drunk, awkward and tripping over itself The writing is clunky and the main character wooden,trying hard to be compelling but never really getting there Winters also tries to put his cool idea to use, by dropping a few world building alternate history nuggets throughout the story like James Brown being a runaway slave that finds shelter in Europe and becomes a superstar there , but they ultimately feel inelegant and unearned due to the fact that the heart of the story never really engages In fact, the whole novel feels like an early rough draft, with ideas and story points that never truly click I give this a low score because if you take away the fancy premise, what are we really left with in this book It has been years since I have seen the movie Blade Runner, but as I was reading this I kept saying to myself, for some reason this reminds me of Blade Runner Then, I started describing the book to a co worker and I didn t tell him about what it reminded me of and the first thing he said is Sounds like Blade Runner So, I guess I was not too far off I did recently read the book Blade Runner is based on, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep so maybe that contributed to it.Another thing about this book is that it was very meta for me is at the word all the young whipper snappers are using these days The book takes place mostly in Indianapolis, which is where I live I am familiar with all the locations discussed and, at one point he specifically mentions the corner of Southport and Emerson right as I was driving by that very corner insert Twilight Zone music here It looks like the reviews on this book are very mixed, but I enjoyed it I thought the story line was creative and the alternate history the author created was dark, brutal, and very interesting For me, when it comes to writing interesting alternate history, it is best when the alteration is to something major and serious the results definitely hit harder when this is the case.In reading some of the criticisms of this book, the major one is that the author is white writing about an issue affecting black people from a black viewpoint As a white man myself, I probably risk controversy on my own part by commenting on this, but hope my view comes across as straightforward and non biased I think that he did a respectful job with the story If there are people who don t think this is the case, I completely understand and I am not trying to convince you otherwise The author did site classic black sci fi author Octavia E Butler specifically her novel Kindred for inspiration.In closing, I hope I have not offended anyone with my review and thoughts on this book and approached this with an open mind It was an interesting and thought provoking novel that I think is worth checking out if you like alternative history or have an interest in Civil Rights based stories. 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum became a fan of Ben H Winters back in 2012 when I first picked up his novel The Last Policeman Since then, I ve been following his work, subsequently reading Countdown City as well as World of Trouble as they were released Together, those three books make up what I think is one of the most tragically underrated series I ve ever read So of course when I heard about Underground Airlines, I just knew I had to read it.And wow, what an incredible book this was If you haven t read Winters yet, Underground Airlines is why you really need to It s very different from the past stuff I ve read by him, but the writing and the storytelling both help cement in my mind that this author is entirely deserving of attention.His hard hitting new book imagines what the world would look like today, if the Civil War never happened In this alternate reality, slavery became protected in the Constitution and still exists in America in the Hard Four states, but even the northern parts of the country are deeply steeped in racism.The story s protagonist is a young black man called Victor, but that is merely one of his identities A former slave who escaped only to be captured again, Victor was forced to make a deal with the federal government and to work as a kind of bounty hunter for the US Marshals His handlers would set him on the trail of other runaway slaves, and then order him to track them down and bring them back to their masters It s a job that requires taking on a lot of aliases and putting on lots of different faces, but Victor is very good at playing whatever role is required of him And whenever the work bothers him, he simply convinces himself that he s just a man doing what he needs to do to survive, and that this is the price of his freedom.But then Victor gets a new assignment to locate a runaway slave known as Jackdaw It s a particularly troublesome case, and from the very beginning Victor gets the sense that everything feels off For one thing, he suspects that his boss is hiding information from him, and he doesn t know why As he traces the clues to find Jackdaw, he also uncovers disturbing secrets related to the Hard Four and their relationships with the government Amidst all the pieces of this puzzle, an abolitionist movement called the Underground Airlines might be the key to solving the mystery, but Victor will need to figure out how to infiltrate them first.The world of Underground Airlines will shake you to your core You read about the horrific conditions in the Hard Four and the racist attitudes that are so imbedded in the culture, and sometimes it s difficult to reconcile that with the modern setting of smartphones, laptops and GPS At the same time though, perhaps our reality has in common with this one than we d like to believe The issues in the novel may be magnified, but sadly they still exist in our world today.Like many books in its genre, this one also made me ponder a lot about history Namely, how fragile it is, in the sense how close events can come to turning out very differently One change, one death, one missed opportunity, and everything can fall another way Winters set out to explore this idea from top to bottom, working around the central premise What if the Civil War never occurred The America in his book is very different of course, but so is the entire world No country exists in a vacuum, and America s altered history not only influences its own politics, but it makes international governments perceive Americans differently as well Within America, the culture is transformed, divided, and ailing badly even though there are individuals, groups, government organizations, corporations, etc standing in apparent solidarity against the evils of slavery, institutional racism is still alive and well.Victor is an enlightening figure as well, a complicated protagonist to lead us through this story It is clear that he recognizes the truth from the start that he is free but not free, not a slave but still chained to the machine that keeps states like the Hard Four running As hard as he tries to let go of his past, it comes back to haunt him every time he goes on a new assignment A part of him hates what he does and what he has become, but denial is a powerful thing, burying the guilt most days Little by little though, the cracks form in his armor, and he begins to question who he really is under all those different identities He s had to put on an act for so long, the past that he has tried so hard to escape will ultimately be the thing which helps Victor find his way back.At the heart of it, Underground Airlines is a mystery and suspense novel, but it is still nonetheless oh so powerful Ben H Winters continues to impress me, going above and beyond all my expectations.Audiobook Comments I was also fortunate enough to review an audio copy of this book I simply cannot praise the narration enough William DeMeritt is a completely new narrator to me, but his performance immediately won me over The main character Victor in the novel, who describes himself as a con man, has to juggle many identities and has to leap in and out of different roles depending on the situation DeMeritt performs these parts wonderfully, lending authenticity to all of Victor s various personas especially when he does the different accents and inflections in the dialogue His narration made this story great, and I highly recommend this book in both print and audio. |EBOOK ☹ Underground Airlines ☤ A Young Black Man Calling Himself Victor Has Struck A Bargain With Federal Law Enforcement, Working As A Bounty Hunter For The US Marshall Service In Exchange For His Freedom 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 As He 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 Extraordinary Stakes Of Jackdaw S Case, As Well As By A Heartbreaking Young Woman And Her Child Who May Be Victor S Salvation 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 Like Our Own Than We D Like To Believe I had been rather resistant to the idea of reading Underground Airlines First, because of the author did I really want to read a novel about slavery written by a white author of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters from a POV of a black person Second, because it was hard for me to imagine a present day America where slavery could still exist you know, some speculative premises are just too out there sometimes But Slate writers kept talking about it, so I decided to give Ben H Winters a chance.And what I think about Underground Airlines is that it is a successful alt history thriller Not quite Margaret Atwood s The Handmaid s Tale, but something along the lines of Paolo Bacigalupi s works It is successful because Winters managed not to bite off than he could chew He penned a good thriller with a decent amount of depth without misappropriating black experiences I think Winters imagined alt history became believable to me in a way I didn t expect it to be I had thought that certainly slavery couldn t be supported for so much longer due to its basic immorality And maybe if I had read this novel at a different time I would be pushing back harder against Winters portrayal of how American people could logically justify going on with slavery But this year, with a certain presidential candidate spewing racist garbage left and right, with the support of millions, Winters premise didn t sound quite that far fetched He managed to draw on the present day, real events and cultural and political trends to envision an alt world quite convincing in its racism and inhumanity Interestingly enough, it s the economical plausibility of hanging onto and continuing slavery didn t quite work for me.A respectable intellectual exercise. I really enjoyed Winters Last Policeman trilogy, so when I heard about his newest book I picked it up right away, even knowing nothing about it After reading I think Winters has surpassed himself This book is even better.As the book s blurbs lets us know, this is an alternate history, set in a present day United States where the Civil War never happened In this reality, there are still Slave and Free states, and of course, there are still runaways and fugitive slave catchers Unsurprisingly, there are also still abolitionists, and secret networks devoted to helping escapees make it to freedom With an update in transportation technology, these networks are now referred to as Underground Airlines, rather than railroads.This is one of those books where I think it s best to go into it not knowing too much about it, and to let the author reveal things at his own pace Honestly, I think that even the publisher s description of the book gives away too much It s enough to know that the story involves a fugitive slave catcher working for the FBI, and one particular case that he s assigned to, which seems to have been given very special weight and significance by his handler As the case unfolds, not only do we discover a tense and thrilling mystery, but get to know a believably complex character, caught in an untenable situation The society imagined here, with all its ramifications, is disturbingly logical in its parallels to our own As the bare bones of the premise suggest, the book handles all the worst issues of inequality and racism in our country, and does it remarkably well, with real depth and sensitivity.Highly recommended Many thanks to NetGalley and Mulholland Books for the opportunity to read As always, my opinions are solely my own. Underground Airlines was a good concept but I thought the execution was off It tells of a world in which the civil war never happened and slavery still exists in several southern states It should have been a slam dunk but I just never really felt engrossed in the story and I think that might be because the author is white I m not saying white authors can t or shouldn t write characters of color but I think its harder for a white person to understand and accurately write about the black experience and in a book about slavery that s doublely hard I would still recommend this book to other readers because its a interesting topic but I think its of a library book and not one to buy.Popsugar Reading Challenge Book about a Difficult Topic