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.