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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most moving book you will ever read
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...
Published on 31 Dec 2001

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17 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 'Faction' at its worst
This is some of the most dangerous literature I have come across. Not only has Haley had to settle a 2 million dollar plagiarism court case, due to his lack of original writing style, but the stuff he did write himself, in an historical sense, he made up! Africans enslaved Africans and sold them to European merchants and did so at great profit. This book only solidifies...
Published on 6 April 2012 by Phisken Moor


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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most moving book you will ever read, 31 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
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.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read., 2 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
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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41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faultless and True, 15 Aug 2003
This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
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.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roots: A must read CLASSIC, 17 Mar 2006
By 
Ms. N. C. Turnill "nickyturnill" (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
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.....
Passionately written and factually correct, the book has definite educational value as well as being a great read. It is actually based on the real ancestral history traced back seven generations to the Gambia by Alex Hayley himself. Of course many of the details will be fictional but this doesn’t damage the story in any way.
As the story follows Kunte throughout his entire life consequently it is LONG and some might see this as a disadvantage! It's one of the longest books I've ever read it fact, a good 800-900 pages, but it is well worth the time. It's totally engaging and impossible to put down once you have really got into it, I'd recommend it as a holiday read, or sometime when you've got the time to really get it to it. Also be aware that at times the language can be a little difficult to comprehend, there is a lot of slang involved, but as long as you persist then it gets easier to read.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic with Contemporary Relevance, 25 Nov 2006
By 
Eugene Onegin (Lincoln England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
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. Consequently the complex relationships which developed between the races are explored as is the especially raw deal black women received not only from their white masters but also their own men folk. Those who know their history of the American South in the twentieth century will find much that sheds light on the origins of Jim Crow, but for all this is a book to cherish.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most moving books I have ever read!, 6 Mar 2001
This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
I have just finished reading the book - about an hour ago! And I felt the urge to write about it!I have read soooo many books - both classics and contemporary - but I have never read one that moved me in such a way as this one! I was in floods of tears! I am seriously considering buying all of the videos - which are £18.00 each! I couldn't put it down for the 688 pages - I have read it in lectures at University, on the train - I even had to take it out my bag at the bus stop the other day!
This book has disrupted my social life for the past week!! Read it now!!!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable, 30 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
I'm so glad I read this book. It was both upsetting and uplifting. Upsetting because of the horrors inflicted on the African people by so-called civilised people; uplifting because of the strength of character and determination of those who suffered unimaginable horrors and indignities. Slaves were considered sub-human; I think it's fair to say that such a label is more applicable to those who bought and sold them. Descriptions of rural Africa, through the eyes of the young Kunta Kinte, showed a close-knit community with a proud history, as described by the wise men (griots). Particularly moving was the description of how Alex Hayley went back to the village of Kunte Kinte and heard that history being repeated as it had been over the centuries by the griots. It was like the story coming full circle.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book i've read in ages - a true epic, 4 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
As it says on the back, this book truly is a labour of love. The thought and time that has gone in to creating this masterpiece is mindblowing. I could barely put it down over the whole 650 pages - it's intense, gripping, upsetting and uplifting. Roots shows what a good book can be whilst at the same time offering an insight in to one of the atrocities of the World's history, African American slavery. I'm just gutted i've finished it.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awe inspiring., 30 Jan 2005
By 
Amazon Customer (Helsinki, Finland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
It's been 20 years since I read Roots, but what a teenager gets from a book is very different from what a middle aged man gets. Alex Haley's work is a masterpiece on so many levels it really is breathtaking. The quality of research and the determination of the man to get to the truth leave me stunned. Excellent story telling combines with wonderful writing to produce a true classic. In many ways this is two books. There's the story of Kunta, the young man torn from his family by sadistic slavers, but who never really gives up his dream of being free again. Alex Haley has drawn on his considerable imagination to create a believable character who the reader can't fail to empathise with. As the story of the family progresses, the book becomes much more a family history, rather than a novel. The book has been crafted with considerable skill, and the shame of Western Europeans and colonial Americans is written large on every page. This is the sort of book which should be required reading for all young people, at once both heartwarming (how people in even the most soul destroying conditions help and support each other) and chilling (man's ever present ability to inflict pain and suffering on his fellow humans). I cried and I laughed, but ultimately I was left feeling ashamed of what white people have done.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring and humbling, 12 Nov 2004
This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
This has to be one of the most powerful books I have ever read. Having been too young to appreciate the Roots mania in the late 1970s, I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up the book. A holiday in The Gambia a few years ago left me intrigued about the story of Kunte Kinte - and what an amazing story it is. I read the last of its 680 pages yesterday and still cannot stop thinking about it. It's humbling to think what others go through to allow the likes of me to live the comfortable and liberal middle class existence that I do. I would urge anyone thinking of buying this to do so - you will be instantly absorbed, inspired and enlightened.
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Roots: The Saga of an American Family (Modern Classics)
Roots: The Saga of an American Family (Modern Classics) by Alex Haley (Hardcover - Sep 2000)
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