Sitzbook 200-Word Review: ‘Underground Airlines’ by Ben H. Winters

This one’s getting the double-length treatment!

The other day I mentioned that I’d read Bring the Jubilee, an alternative history that takes place in the 1950s, with the premise being that the South had won the Civil War in that dimension.

Underground Airlines is another alternative history that uses the Civil War as a fulcrum, but here the Civil War never actually took place, and the story is set in modern-day Indianapolis.

I won’t give away any more of the plot because I really enjoyed the twists, turns, and various details that are gradually presented throughout the story. But suffice it to say that although I enjoyed both these books, this one definitely engaged my interest more forcefully.

As with any book, there are a few weak points. Underground Airlines loses much of its flow in the last fifth of the book or so, and at the ending in particular. It’s not that I disagreed with what was happening, but I sensed a distinct shift in the quality of the world-building that was fleshed out so well in the earlier chapters of the book.

Despite those flaws, though, I’d wholeheartedly recommend this book. It was thought-provoking and entertaining, to boot.

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