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Roots
Roots
Author: Alex Haley
"Early in the spring of 1750, in the village of Juffure, four days upriver from the coast of The Gambia, West Africa, a man-child was born to Omoro and Binta Kinte." — So begins "Roots" ... — When he was a boy in Henning, Tennessee, Alex Haley's grandmother used to tell him stories about their family-stories that went back ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780440174646
ISBN-10: 0440174643
Publication Date: 1977
Pages: 736
Rating:
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 119

4.3 stars, based on 119 ratings
Publisher: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Roots on + 156 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
It begins with a child's birth in Africa. His parents name him Kunta Kinte, a strong, proud boy who later in life is kidnapped and taken to America to be sold into slavery. Roots follows his clan through seven generations, ending with Alex Haley himself. The book tells, in fascinating detail, the lives of Kunta Kinte, Kizzy Waller, "Chicken George" Lea, Tom Murray, Will Palmer, Simon Alexander Haley, and finally, the author. Throughout the book, African culture, as well as the culture of Americanized slaves, is introduced. One part of the book that especially grabbed my attention is a vivid, heart-wrenching description of the Middle Passage, describing the horrors that Africans experience on their trip into bondage.
reviewed Roots on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
An absolutely sensational read!! I read it about 25 years ago. Haley story of slavery, starting in the 1700s and moving forward, is a moving one.
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reviewed Roots on + 161 more book reviews
I was initially prepared to give this book a 5, but it did start to drift at the end and the fact that I learned Haley may have plagiarized parts of the book did ruin it a bit for me. Nevertheless, it is still a pivotal book in American culture and spawned a mini-series that was one of the most watched shows ever, so I felt that it is something that I should read in my lifetime (I learned that my mom read it when it first came out when she saw it at my house on the table, so that was cool too). Roots starts with such beautiful imagery that you can picture the lush African backdrop. I didn't realize so much of the early part of this book took place in Africa, I thought it was mostly about Kunta Kinte adjusting to life as a slave, but seeing his true heritage really helps the reader to understand Kunta's motives and feelings. Later the story starts to feel as brown and yellowed as the old copy of the book I was reading. You feel Kunta's despair, the overwhelming hopelessness that seems to come over the lives of everyone as they face cruelty at the hands of their white owners (some are more cruel than others, but as it is pointed out in the story, even the kindest owner still owns a person and there's something wrong with that) and helplessness over their own lives. The story follows Kunta's descendants- his daughter Kizzy, her son Chicken George, his son Tom, and Tom's family (though this is where the story gets rushed in the last hundred or so pages) all the way up to Alex Haley. the author.

This book really makes you think about your own family and your own roots. A common theme throughout the book is sharing family history with the next generation so that you know where you came from. I doubt there are a lot of families today that can really trace their family back more than about two generations, so I can see how this book really influenced the idea of tracing one's genealogy.

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People/Characters
Kunta Kinte (Major Character)

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