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This review is from: Roots (Paperback)
Alex Haley's fascinating search for his own human roots is a reconstruction of a nearly superhuman struggle for survival and freedom.
The magical evocation of a coming of age in Africa in the 18th century is brutally stopped by a barbarous capture by slave-traders. After the 'whipping' hardship of the transatlantic cross-over follow the harsh labour and living conditions on a cotton field workcamp: 'The life of a field hand was the life of a farm animal ... black people with destroyed minds acted like goats and monkeys.'
All attempts to escape to freedom ('rather die a free man on the run than live out his life as a slave') fail.
The inhuman selling of blacks by the white owners tears all black families apart ('work a thousand years for a white man you still any black').
The struggle to amass enough capital to buy their families free becomes finally superfluous by the victory of the North over the South. The African generation survives till the present day (Alex Haley himself).
The fate inflicted on the author's ancestors is part of 'all of history's incredible atrocities against fellowmen, which seems to be mankind's greatest flaw.'
With Alex Haley, one can only wonder 'that it's possible to be civilized with one another without treating as human beings those whose blood, sweat and mother's milk made possible the life of privilege they had.' But, 'it is the way of the world that goodness is often repaid by badness.'
With this profoundly human and deeply moving book, Alex Haley erected an eternal statue for the African American.
A must read.