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Roots

Cover of Roots

Roots

The Saga of an American Family

It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley's own family tree.

When Alex was a boy growing up in Tennessee, his grandmother used to tell him stories about their family, stories that went way back to a man she called "the African" who was taken aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial America. As an adult, Alex spent twelve years searching for documentation that might authenticate what his grandmother had told him. In an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered the name of "the African"—Kunta Kinte—as well as the exact location of the village in West Africa from where he was abducted in 1767. Roots is based on the facts of his ancestry, and the six generations of people—slaves and freemen, farmers and lawyers, an architect, a teacher—and one acclaimed author—who descended from Kunta Kinte.

It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley's own family tree.

When Alex was a boy growing up in Tennessee, his grandmother used to tell him stories about their family, stories that went way back to a man she called "the African" who was taken aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial America. As an adult, Alex spent twelve years searching for documentation that might authenticate what his grandmother had told him. In an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered the name of "the African"—Kunta Kinte—as well as the exact location of the village in West Africa from where he was abducted in 1767. Roots is based on the facts of his ancestry, and the six generations of people—slaves and freemen, farmers and lawyers, an architect, a teacher—and one acclaimed author—who descended from Kunta Kinte.

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About the Author-
  • Alex Haley (1921–1992) is the author of Roots, one of the most celebrated novels of the 1970s. He spent twenty years in the Coast Guard until beginning his writing career working for a range of magazines before becoming a ghostwriter for his first major book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Haley spent years tracing his own family history and decided it went back to a single African man, Kunta Kinte, who was captured in Gambia and taken to the United States as a slave. That research led to Haley's epic book Roots, published in 1976 to wide acclaim. Haley is credited with inspiring interest in genealogy among African Americans.

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  • AudioFile Magazine This is the thirtieth anniversary of this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Presenting the life of the captured and enslaved African Kunte Kinte and his American descendants as representative ancestors for contemporary African-Americans, Haley initiated a dialogue on race in America not experienced since the writing of UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. Those audiophiles who have heard Avery Brooks speak extemporaneously are aware of his idiosyncratic speech pattern. Being the consummate actor, Brooks has immersed himself into the role of narrator. In fact, it is difficult to describe what Avery Brooks does in this audiobook. He neither narrates nor performs, rather, he conjures. He brings the plethora of characters to life as memory, as history, as the pawns of diaspora. His narration begins in reverential tones as an homage to a literary masterwork, yet he ends it as a roar against racism. P.R. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
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The Saga of an American Family
Alex Haley
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