I am at least a fifth generation genealogist I was ten when this book was first published and made into a miniseries But, I was allowed to stay up that entire week of January 23 January 30, 1977 to watch it in its entirety I thought the cast did an excellent job To this day, I still believe that the book was much better than the movie But, as Dr Henry Louis Gates, Jr once pointed out, Most of us feel it s highly unlikely that Alex actually found the village whence his ancestors sprang Roots is a work of the imagination rather than strict historical scholarship. Magnificent The epic chronicle of a family through many generations of cruelty, hardship and suffering But it s much than that really it s the history of slavery in America What happened to the characters in this book happened to millions of others and it s a story that needed to be told and Alex Haley did a masterful job of telling it Roots should be required reading in high schools because all of us, regardless of age, race, or gender should understand this history You can t tell the history of America without telling the history of slavery We can still feel it s impact on our society still today.4.5 stars When He Was A Boy In Henning, Tennessee, Alex Haley S Grandmother Used To Tell Him Stories About Their Family Stories That Went Back To Her Grandparents, And Their Grandparents, Down Through The Generations All The Way To A Man She Called The African She Said He Had Lived Across The Ocean Near What He Called The Kamby Bolongo And Had Been Out In The Forest One Day Chopping Wood To Make A Drum When He Was Set Upon By Four Men, Beaten, Chained And Dragged Aboard A Slave Ship Bound For Colonial AmericaStill Vividly Remembering The Stories After He Grew Up And Became A Writer, Haley Began To Search For Documentation That Might Authenticate The Narrative It Took Ten Years And A Half A Million Miles Of Travel Across Three Continents To Find It, But Finally, In An Astonishing Feat Of Genealogical Detective Work, He Discovered Not Only The Name Of The African Kunta Kinte But The Precise Location Of Juffure, The Very Village In The Gambia, West Africa, From Which He Was Abducted In At The Age Of Sixteen And Taken On The Lord Ligonier To Maryland And Sold To A Virginia PlanterHaley Has Talked In Juffure With His Own African Sixth Cousins On September He Stood On The Dock In Annapolis Where His Great Great Great Great Grandfather Was Taken Ashore On September , Now He Has Written The Monumental Two Century Drama Of Kunta Kinte And The Six Generations Who Came After Him Slaves And Freedmen, Farmers And Blacksmiths, Lumber Mill Workers And Pullman Porters, Lawyers And Architects And One AuthorBut Haley Has Done Than Recapture The History Of His Own Family As The First Black American Writer To Trace His Origins Back To Their Roots, He Has Told The Story Of ,, Americans Of African Descent He Has Rediscovered For An Entire People A Rich Cultural Heritage That Slavery Took Away From Them, Along With Their Names And Their Identities But Roots Speaks, Finally, Not Just To Blacks, Or To Whites, But To All People And All Races Everywhere, For The Story It Tells Is One Of The Most Eloquent Testimonials Ever Written To The Indomitability Of The Human Spirit I remember watching the mini series of this book on TV around the same time we were studying about early American history in school I finally got my hands on this book a few years back when a friend lent it to me and since she was clearing her bookshelf I was than happy to keep the copyI still have it A gripping and gritting portrayal of the story of a tribal prince, Kunta Kinte, who is snatched from his homeland of Africa and thrown into a nightmare of slavery in America and how not only he, but his subsequent generation of descendants fight against odds to keep their identity as well as the story of Kunta Kinte alive A must read I honestly can t believe how much I enjoyed this book It s been sitting on my shelf for about half a year now and I ve been wanting to read it as soon as I got it I always just started another book though and always said next time I finally picked it up 6 days ago and finished it about 10 minutes ago The beginning was wonderful I was so enthralled with Africa and Kunta Kinte and his family and the whole works The way they lived, the culture, the traditions, it was like reading of another world almost literally How close of a family they were and the way they were raised is so far fetched of what it s like today These people were all about respect and their tight clans and villages They loved all of each other and they worked hard for what they had even if it was hardly anything They lived without most of the things we feel we NEED today It honestly didn t seem that bad of a lifestyle.To be ripped apart from that after barely just being able to live as they call it was heart breaking Just to be Kunta with his aspirations and dreams and then to be ripped from it just in a split second by someone with their own ideas and taken away from the only thing he knows I can t imagine just being taken away from my famly and my COUNTRY to some strange place where they don t even speak a language I know The story telling was so descriptive, I cried, cringed and just felt a weight on my heart.Following Kinte and seeing how brave he was and how determined he was to find a way back home showed how proud he was and how he really thought if he tried he could make it back I thought he might have tried a bit too much but I think he would ve kept going if they hadn t of done what they did As the years go on he builds a whole new life Learns a new language, builds a new home and family and basically start over as a whole nother person Nothing could ve been harder He never let where he came from die though He made sure his children knew where he came from and so on.The only thing I wasn t really too happy about was when the story just all of a sudden went to Kizzy I mean we never heard about Kunta and Bell again Half the book was about Kunta and then the next chapter that s it I didn t really like that.All in all, I loved how the family kept its tradition and promise to make sure they knew about Kunta and where he came from It was amazing.I find it odd too because 3 last names in that book are of my ancestral background Johnson, being my maiden name Henning being my grandmother s maiden name and Haley being my great grandmother s maiden name before becoming a Henning This is all on my father s side, too I think that s really amazing I wonder if those in the book were my ancestors Hmm Something to look up.To know a bit of where you come from and who your ancestors are I think is a wonderful thing to know For Alex Haley to have been able to actually travel to the place where his great great great great grandfather came from That s just amazing Not many ppl can say that and I m sure it would give you a sense of PRIDE to be able to say yes, my so and so was this person or that person WONDERFUL BOOK Knjiga, a potom i serija, koje smo mnogo voleli Kako bi bilo lepo kad bi se neko setio evergrin naslova i ponovo objavio ovu knjigu Pre nekoliko godina sam nabavila originalni box set serije pa mogu da u ivam u njoj kad god po elim Makar ne to I don t know why I ve never read this book before now It s excellent Yes, as a Midwestern, middle aged white person, the repeated use of the N word was jarring, but definitely necessary to the story It got a point across that I don t think would have been properly conveyed any other way I m going to re watch the miniseries soon It came out when I was in grade school, so I don t remember it well But I highly recommend the book. 400. Roots The Saga of an American Family Roots, Alex Haley Roots The Saga of an American Family is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in 1976 It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th century African, captured as an adolescent, sold into slavery in Africa, transported to North America following his life and the lives of his descendants in the United States down to Haley The release of the novel, combined with its hugely popular television adaptation, Roots 1977 , led to a cultural sensation in the United States, and it is considered to be one of the most important U.S works of the 20th century The novel spent forty six weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List, including twenty two weeks at number one The last seven chapters of the novel were later adapted in the form of a second miniseries, Roots The Next Generations 1979 It stimulated interest in genealogy and appreciation for African American history 1979 1357 695 1361 1363 1367 1369 1382 1387 1388 1392 1393 9789643030506 1394 775 9789640018224 20 1366 416 1387 9786005381061 This book was astonishing to me particularly the narrative of Kunta Kinte s life This is why I read What an amazing description of African culture and the rights of manhood Then, the horrible violation of slavery and the cross cultural experience of an African joining slaves who were predominately born in the United States Sounds silly, but though I ve read many books on slavery, none have dealt with the differences among slaves themselves and how growing up as a slave shaped how African Americans thought and interacted both with whites and with newly arrived Africans I could understand why Alex Haley is the best selling African American author to date.I wanted to give this book a 5 But, two things prevented me from giving it the highest rating.First, when the book moves away from Kunte Kinte into successive generations, while it has engaging moments, something of the brilliance was lost This was strange to me After reading the book, I did some research on Alex Haley and Roots, and discovered that there were allegations that Haley plagiarized from Harold Courlander s The African , published nine years before Roots It seems the passages in question were concentrated in the life of Kunta Kinte after Courlander sued Haley an out of court monetary settlement from Haley to Courlander was made, though Haley seems to have maintained innocence in the matter Could it be that the brilliance of the book came from Courlander s work I don t know and have requested The African from inter library loan in order to investigate further Margaret Walker Alexander filed a similar suit, but hers was dismissed The legal actions of both Courlander and Walker were resolved in 1978 This was two years after the publication of Roots in 1976, and one year after a national television miniseries boosted sales and interest in 1977 I will also hunt down Walker s book.Secondly, the genealogical work behind the book has come into question This wouldn t be a problem, except that the final chapters present the genealogy as factually verified by the author in an attempt to place the work firmly in the historical fiction genre In addition, these final chapters uphold Haley s lineage as a kind of beacon for all of African descent who don t know who they are This could have been done in the realm of fiction, without the assertion of fact, but it wasn t.I was very disappointed by these revelations I felt mislead, even betrayed, by Alex Haley However, I must concede that even with these faults, the book is a wonderful read that opened up new doors of thought to me and shaped my thinking in new ways For that, I am grateful As a follow up, I have also confirmed that Haley plagiarized from Margaret Walker s book, Jubilee, an absolutely fabulous book written by the first African American woman to earn a PhD I would highly recommend this book In addition, reading both The African and Jubilee helped me to see a little of what Haley was getting at with writing Roots.Now that I understand his perspective better, I can see that Roots definitely had an agenda Black Power connected with Africanism and Islam, which is probably also represented in The Autobiography of Malcolm X Note the following when you read it 1 The extremely compelling portions on Africa have been criticized as current social anthropology as opposed to history.2 There is an emphasis lacking in Courlander s The African on Islamic belief, as opposed to voodoo being the religious and cultural grounding of the African community.3 Christianity is covertly proclaimed as the white man religion , used by slave traders to stomp out cultural identity and practices that might lead blacks to gather up enough confidence to start a successful rebellion.4 Apparently, the book kicked off a ton of travel to Africa, during which African Americans found they were not embraced as Haley alludes they would be Also, many believe Haley s documentation of his trip to Africa is entirely false and that the groit he met and all the officials involved were coached and eager to see Haley be successful in generating interest in their country.5 All of these things would be forgivable IF Haley had merely written a work of fiction We would suspect authors had their own ideas, agendas and perspectives But, the intro and those last chapters are horrifically misleading It s almost like he believed his own press And the IDEA that he was going for is powerful, that Africans were stripped of their roots by the slave industry and that this has been harmful to them But this reality only serves to underline the strong motive he had for promoting this perspective and African Islam Black Power as the logical fulfillment salvation to such a paradigm.6 Some of the quotes, references to Haley lead me to believe he wasn t a very nice person not that anyone wants to say that outright, but it s there It certainly appears he was looking to a black Muslim identity for wholeness, salvation, and power Hopefully, he found peace with God and others before he died.Also, regarding Jubilee specifically, I recognized one paragraph in the first chapter that I m pretty sure was copied verbatim The main character, Vyry and her mother, Sis Hetta whose death opens the book seem to have inspired Haley s character Kizzy But, as obvious as that was, perhaps the biggest thing Haley lifted from Jubilee was the idea to write about one s descendants and that such knowledge was important for the coming generations Walker s dedication communicates this intention with less dramatic flair than Haley s claims about flying the globe, roaming through records, and finding groits who harbor verbal testimony of his ancestors, all while the oldest and last of his relatives is dying.I would still recommend Roots, but I thought these observations might be helpful in positioning the work within its proper historical context For information on my investigations pertaining to Roots, please see the conversation in comments on this review Although many of those that originally discussed the book with me are no longer on Goodreads, I think you can follow the discussion and track my primary sources if you would like to know Enjoy The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley, 1965Jubilee, Margaret Walker, 1966https www.goodreads.com review showThe African, Harold Courlander, 1967https www.goodreads.com review showAlso from Goodreads discussion below this review Roots Philip Nobile The Village Voice February 23, 1993After Haley s death, his private papers were released and reviewed by Philip Nobile, who published a definitive article in 1993 Nobile s article details specific problems with Haley s account and includes numerous primary sources I was able to order this article via the periodicals department at my library It was photocopied by a library that owned the magazine copy and sent to my library It cost me 1 Also from Goodreads discussion below this review 10 Big Lies about America, Medved, 2008Big Lie 2 The United States is Uniquely Guilty for the Crime of Slavery, and Based Its Wealth on Stolen African Laborhttps www.goodreads.com review showA new book has been written that I prefer to Roots A generational narrative that spans from Africa to America and back, seeHomegoing, Gyasi, 2016https www.goodreads.com review show
Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was an American writer He is best known as the author of Roots The Saga of an American Family, and of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the latter of which he wrote in collaboration with Malcolm X.
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- Alex Haley
- 03 May 2018 Alex Haley