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Book Cover for: John Henry Days, Colson Whitehead

John Henry Days

Colson Whitehead

Reader Score


72% of readers

recommend this book

Critic Reviews


Based on 8 reviews on

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From the bestselling, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, a novel that is "funny and wise and sumptuously written" (Jonathan Franzen, The New York Times Book Review).

Colson Whitehead's triumphant novel is on one level a multifaceted retelling of the story of John Henry, the black steel-driver who died outracing a machine designed to replace him. On another level it's the story of a disaffected, middle-aged black journalist on a mission to set a record for junketeering who attends the annual John Henry Days festival. It is also a high-velocity thrill ride through the tunnel where American legend gives way to American pop culture, replete with p. r. flacks, stamp collectors, blues men, and turn-of-the-century song pluggers.

John Henry Days is an acrobatic, intellectually dazzling, and laugh-out-loud funny book that will be read and talked about for years to come.

Look for Colson Whitehead's new novel, Crook Manifesto!

Book Details

  • Publisher: Anchor Books
  • Publish Date: May 14th, 2002
  • Pages: 400
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.10in - 5.16in - 0.83in - 0.66lb
  • EAN: 9780385498203
  • Categories: Historical - GeneralLiteraryAction & Adventure

About the Author

COLSON WHITEHEAD is the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad. His other works include The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. A National Book Award winner and a recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.

Critics’ reviews

Praise for this book

"A narrative tour de force that astonishes on almost every page." --Time

"Does what writing should do; it refreshes our sense of the world.... An ambitious, finely chiseled work." --John Updike, The New Yorker

"John Henry Days is funny and wise and sumptuously written...compelling." --Jonathan Franzen, The New York Times Book Review

"[Whitehead] takes on a multitude of issues with a rich and probing imagination.His reputation is likely to soar." --Ishmael Reed, The Washington Post Book World

"A feast for famished readers." --Newsweek