Underground Airlines” is the first alternate history novel I have read. Ben Winters couldn’t have written a more compelling storyline — the assassination of President Lincoln before the Civil War leading to the persistence of slave states and a fractured country with northern states willing to “compromise” for the union. The narrative is shockingly plausible and I found myself drawn to the story with a sense of both fascination and anxiety. Considering ongoing institutional racism and the resurgence of nationalism in the US, “Underground Airlines” is remarkably thought-provoking and prescient.

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