"The book is an act of love, and it is this which makes it haunting" (New York Times)
"A gripping mixture of urban confessional and political manifesto, it not only inspired a generation of black activists, but drove home the bitter realities of racism to a mainstream white liberal audience" (Observer)
"Groundbreaking" (Associated Press)
"A Pulitzer Prize-winning story about the family ancestry of author Alex Haley... [and] a symbolic chronicle of the odyssey of African Americans from the continent of Africa to a land not of their choosing" (Washington Post)
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The radical, bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning account of Alex Haley's own twelve-year search for his family's origins - a powerful memoir, a history of slavery and a landmark in African-American literature.
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I finished reading this book a few months ago but it is still with me. I am still haunted by the images of the innocent and beautifully characterised Kunta Kinte being snatched from his village in Juffure. This book was my insight into American history and I was unable to put it down until it was finished. I lived the horrors with Kunta Kinte and followed all the subsequent generations through their lives, and I did become one of them. This is the most amazing book you will every read. Please read it, every thinking man and woman should read this and spare a thought for the atrocities that happened in the past.
I could not put this book down. I wish I had taken the time to read this book earlier in my life! It tells a wonderful tale of Kunte Kinte, an African man who is stolen from his African tribe in Ghana and made a slave in the 'new world.' I loved the story, even though it was one of the saddest stories I had ever read. By the end of the book I felt like I knew Kunte and his whole family extremely well. It's great when you read a book and it 'stays with you' for weeks afteward. I feel that way about 'Roots.' It really is a great book, one which left me with a great feeling of sadness for what Kunte's family (and so many others!) went through, but also with a feeling of hope for the future. The book is beautifully written. The description of Africa was lovely. If you're considering this book, you really should buy it.
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Told in the true style of griots, this story gripped my emotions from beginning to end. The last time I read it was 6 years ago and never has a book stayed with me more than Roots. The first time I read it was actually whilst visiting Gambia and it made me a far more popular person with the Gambians, they are very proud to be linked with the names Alex Haley and Kunta Kinte and rightly so. We all know the story by now, but it is the passion of Alex Haley's writing which makes this such a compelling read, the love he feels for his subject draws the reader in with such power it is impossible to let go. This book was the first time I had really come into contact with the slave trade, and I can truthfully say something in this book changed me forever, I really had my eyes opened to the trade in human flesh and knew what humans were capable of doing to each other. I never wanted this book to end, but when it did I cried tears of joy, sadness and knowledge. Thank you so much Alex Haley for sharing your family's story with us, it is something I will never forget.
Hayley's 'Roots' is easily one of the best and most vivid books I have ever read. It is a modern classic and it comes with my 100% recommendation. Roots is a account of the life of Kunta Kente, a young African boy, captured and shipped to the US to work as a slave. The book details the start of his life from his birth in 1750 in a village called Juffire in Gambia in the West of Africa. As a young boy Kunta is captured and subsequently transport across the sea to be sold as a slave. Kunta is shipped to and sold in the State of Virginia, first by a harsh master and thus he runs away four times, with no place to go his is re-caught and eventually sold to a new 'master' who is much softer than the first. Kunta eventually accepts his fate and the book goes on to detail his working life with his new master, his marriage the housemaid Belle and the birth of their daughter Kizzy. In some ways the book has a happy ending as Kunte is eventually freed but at the end of the day this book is about slavery, a practise that was inhumane and unforgivable. At times It is a shocking and graphic account of the maltreatment and suffering endured by those taken as slaves. Both in America but particularly the parts in which Kunta details his experiences on the ship across the Atlantic, where he estimates that the death rate could reach as high as 40%, given the unsanitary conditions, with bodies just chucked mercilessly into the sea. This disturbing account will stay with me always, it is appalling to think that so many thousands of innocent people undertook such horrific times, stolen from their homelands in order to ensure that the USA became the richest country in the World.....Read more ›
Nearly 30 years ago as a young child I watched the television series Roots. I recall it still not least because it was the first programme I ever saw which made me cry and angry at the same time. I didn't know it then, but it would be the start of a lifelong interest in the Civil Rights struggle and yet ironically I never did get round to reading the book on which those landmark programmes were based. Recently I remedied that omission and was hooked from the first page on this saga of six generations of African Americans struggling against the despicable evils of slavery whilst striving to remain in contact with their ancestral heritage beginning with Kunta Kinte the proud Gambian sold into bondage after his capture in the late 1760's. It is a story which the page: Chicken George the colourful cockfighting trainer to the creative and serious Tom the blacksmith and overshadowing them all Kunta himself always unapologetically African and never losing his longing to be free.
Don't be misled by the harrowing subject: this in an engrossing story with many memorable and exciting passages: the account of the conditions on a transatlantic slave ship is unforgettable whilst Haley's account of life in Kunta Kinte's Gambian village is utterly fascinating and vital to the book's impact in that highlights an alternative non Western culture with complex values, traditions and belief systems of which the white Slavers are entirely ignorant, a very convenient ignorance of course when you want to exploit and dehumanise a people. Yet alongside this suffering there are humour, warmth, and incident aplenty reminding us of the resilience and resource of the human spirit even under crippling injustice.Read more ›
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