Roots: The Saga of an American Family is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African. Roots book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. When he was a boy in Henning, Tennessee, Alex Haley's grandmother used to. Roots [Alex Haley] on usaascvb.info *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Tracing his ancestry through six generations - slaves and freedmen, farmers and .
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Roots: The Saga of an American Family was a cultural sensation when it was published in African American author Alex Haley claimed to. The website for the 30th anniversary edition of Roots, by Alex Haley, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Had Haley presented Roots from the outset as a novel (or overwhelmingly fictional), the doubts about its authenticity wouldn't have mattered.
I would still recommend Roots, but I thought these observations might be helpful in positioning the work within its proper historical context. For more information on my investigations pertaining to Roots, please see the conversation in comments on this review.
Although many of those that originally discussed the book with me are no longer on Goodreads, I think you can follow the discussion and track my primary sources if you would like to know more. The African, Harold Courlander, https: Also from Goodreads discussion below this review: I was able to order this article via the periodicals department at my library. It was photocopied by a library that owned the magazine copy and sent to my library. A new book has been written that I prefer to Roots.
A generational narrative that spans from Africa to America and back, see Homegoing, Gyasi, https: View all 25 comments. Feb 01, Duane rated it really liked it Shelves: The epic chronicle of a family through many generations of cruelty, hardship and suffering.
But it's much more than that really; it's the history of slavery in America.
What happened to the characters in this book happened to millions of others and it's a story that needed to be told and Alex Haley did a masterful job of telling it.
Roots should be required reading in high schools because all of us, regardless of age, race, or gender should understand this history. You can't tell th Magnificent. You can't tell the history of America without telling the history of slavery.
We can still feel it's impact on our society still today. View all 4 comments. Knjiga, a potom i serija, koje smo mnogo voleli Kako bi bilo lepo kad bi se neko setio evergrin naslova i ponovo objavio ovu knjigu Feb 03, Tahera rated it it was amazing Shelves: I remember watching the mini series of this book on TV around the same time we were studying about early American history in school.
I finally got my hands on this book a few years back when a friend lent it to me and since she was clearing her bookshelf I was more than happy to keep the copy I still have it!
A gripping and gritting portrayal of the story of a tribal prince, Kunta Kinte, who is snatched from his homeland of Africa and thrown into a nightmare of slavery in America and how not o I remember watching the mini series of this book on TV around the same time we were studying about early American history in school.
A gripping and gritting portrayal of the story of a tribal prince, Kunta Kinte, who is snatched from his homeland of Africa and thrown into a nightmare of slavery in America and how not only he, but his subsequent generation of descendants fight against odds to keep their identity as well as the story of Kunta Kinte alive View all 3 comments.
I honestly can't believe how much I enjoyed this book. It's been sitting on my shelf for about half a year now and I've been wanting to read it as soon as I got it. I always just started another book though and always said "next time. The beginning was wonderful. I was so enthralled with Africa and Kunta Kinte and his family and the whole works. The way they lived, the culture, the traditions, it was like reading of another I honestly can't believe how much I enjoyed this book.
The way they lived, the culture, the traditions, it was like reading of another world almost literally. How close of a family they were and the way they were raised is so far-fetched of what it's like today. These people were all about respect and their tight clans and villages. They loved all of each other and they worked hard for what they had even if it was hardly anything.
They lived without most of the things we feel we NEED today. It honestly didn't seem that bad of a lifestyle. To be ripped apart from that after barely just being able to 'live' as they call it was heart-breaking. Just to be Kunta with his aspirations and dreams and then to be ripped from it just in a split second by someone with their own ideas and taken away from the only thing he knows.
The story-telling was so descriptive, I cried, cringed and just felt a weight on my heart. Following Kinte and seeing how brave he was and how determined he was to find a way back home showed how proud he was and how he really thought if he tried he could make it back.
I thought he might have tried a bit too much but I think he would've kept going if they hadn't of done what they did. As the years go on he builds a whole new life. Learns a new language, builds a new home and family and basically start over as a whole nother person.
Nothing could've been harder. He never let where he came from die though. He made sure his children knew where he came from and so on.
The only thing I wasn't really too happy about was when the story just all of a sudden went to Kizzy. I mean we never heard about Kunta and Bell again.
Half the book was about Kunta and then the next chapter that's it. I didn't really like that. All in all, I loved how the family kept its tradition and promise to make sure they knew about Kunta and where he came from. It was amazing. I find it odd too because 3 last names in that book are of my ancestral background. Johnson, being my maiden name.
Henning being my grandmother's maiden name and Haley being my great-grandmother's maiden name before becoming a Henning. This is all on my father's side, too. I think that's really amazing. I wonder if those in the book were my ancestors. Something to look up. To know a bit of where you come from and who your ancestors are I think is a wonderful thing to know.
For Alex Haley to have been able to actually travel to the place where his great-great-great-great-grandfather came from. That's just amazing. Not many ppl can say that and I'm sure it would give you a sense of PRIDE to be able to say "yes, my so and so was this person or that person.
View all 7 comments. View all 5 comments. Nov 06, Michelle rated it it was amazing Shelves: I am at least a fifth generation genealogist. I was ten when this book was first published and made into a miniseries. But, I was allowed to stay up that entire week of January 23 — January 30, to watch it in its entirety.
I thought the cast did an excellent job. To this day, I still believe that the book was much better than the movie. But, as Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Roots is a work of the imagination rather than strict historical scholarship. I opened the cover of this book with eagerness and excitement. In fact, I informed my family I was finally reading Roots and I would be out of commission for the week!
I was then greeted by pages of some of the dullest prose I have ever encountered. Dull and monotonous writing. Zero character development. The exotic locale of Africa reduced to sand and thorns, with a few cardboard cut-outs of Africans standing around. Then, on page out of , conflict finally creates the true beginning I opened the cover of this book with eagerness and excitement.
Then, on page out of , conflict finally creates the true beginnings of a story. It is here, despite the conflict being the horror of abduction leading into a lifetime of slavery, where I finally realized I needed to let go of my desire to experience any character development and submit instead to Haley's true gifts, which are research and story-telling. The story, from roughly pages to , is often compelling. I have read many works of fiction and some non-fiction from this time period, and this book obviously contributes a completely unique perspective.
In particular, I appreciated Haley showing slavery as not only an evil and despicable practice, but an absurd one as well. And, Kunta Kinte's observations, as an educated and Muslim African amongst slaves who had lost their heritage, their religions, and their families were absolutely thought-provoking and often heart-breaking.
Yet, when the finally-interesting story shifts again, to the first-person narrator at the end, I felt it was really the final blow for me.
Left in the hands of a more capable writer, the ending, where Haley reveals his process and research, could have been fascinating. It was not, and the final pages, where he discusses the death of his father, made no cogent sense to me and had no connection to the rest of the story.
I applaud the incredible scope of this book and its huge cultural, ancestral, social and spiritual contributions, but I really struggled with the writing. If you happen to be reading this and feel similarly, I would highly recommend both Margaret Walker's Jubilee and Toni Morrison's Beloved as far more literary works which deal with slavery and its lasting impact on fully developed characters.
View all 15 comments. Dec 08, Heather rated it it was amazing. I don't know why I've never read this book before now.
It's excellent. Yes, as a Midwestern, middle-aged white person, the repeated use of the N-word was jarring, but definitely necessary to the story. It got a point across that I don't think would have been properly conveyed any other way.
I'm going to re-watch the miniseries soon. It came out when I was in grade school, so I don't remember it well. But I highly recommend the book. Apr 20, Werner rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: African-American writer Haley based this book on the oral stories of his family history, handed down to him as a child by his grandmother, who was part of a chain of family memory-keepers going back to the 18th century, to and even before the arrival of their ancestor Kunta Kinte in this country as a kidnapped slave.
As an adult, Haley painstakingly researched the historical written records to confirm and amplify these stories, even traveling to West Africa, where a griot --a keeper of tribal African-American writer Haley based this book on the oral stories of his family history, handed down to him as a child by his grandmother, who was part of a chain of family memory-keepers going back to the 18th century, to and even before the arrival of their ancestor Kunta Kinte in this country as a kidnapped slave.
As an adult, Haley painstakingly researched the historical written records to confirm and amplify these stories, even traveling to West Africa, where a griot --a keeper of tribal genealogies and lore-- provided information that dovetailed with his family's own accounts. This book, in large measure, is based on that research. For this reason, most libraries including the one where I work have followed the Library of Congress in classifying and shelving it as nonfiction history.
That's not, however, an accurate label. The author makes liberal use, in the accounts of the earlier generations, of imaginative reconstructions, invented dialogue, and ascriptions to various characters of unattested thoughts and motives. These devices are dropped in the much shorter accounts of the later generations, beginning with his grandparents he was born in , which read more like, and actually are, conventional nonfiction.
But the earlier generations take up the vast majority of the book; so I've classified it accordingly as historical fiction. However, that's in no way said in derogation.
This is an exceptionally well-researched and historically grounded novel about actual people; the way Haley creatively fleshes out and envisions the narrative with the techniques of fiction is a superlative example of the way historical novelists should ply their craft.
All of the major events of the plot are attested real-life events that actually happened, and what's reconstructed is true to life. In writing dialogue, like other Realist writers before him, Haley also reproduces the authentic dialect of Southern black and white speech. Most of the recounted historical experiences were in, and shaped by, the cultural context of slavery, and later segregation.
No punches are pulled in accurately bringing to life the unconscionable way the slaves were exploited, the vile injustices and outrages they had to put up with as a matter of course, the racism and discrimination they suffered from even after slavery's end. The overall effect of this, seen through black eyes, is extremely powerful; and indeed this book, and the TV miniseries adaptation which actually doesn't follow the book very closely in the later generations was probably the single major cultural influence, in the later 20th century, that actually made much of the white community think seriously about that aspect of the American black experience.
But, to Haley's credit, this isn't a pity-party that invites both blacks and whites to see the former as helpless perpetual victims. His ancestors weren't people who let themselves be defined as victims. The book as a whole is a testament to black courage, self-reliance and self-help, determination to forge a culture and a way of life in spite of hindrances, and to the strength of the black family. He also doesn't demonize all whites as such. As a practicing Christian himself, the author is also sympathetic in his treatment of the black church.
Kunta Kinte was a Moslem; but he married a Christian, and she raised their daughter as one.
The subtitle says it all: The Saga of an American Family. This family is as American, as much a part of the American fabric, as any other; they claim that heritage as a right, and they deserve to be recognized and treated as such as much as any other. David wrote a proposal asking for more funds to continue the research project but was unsuccessful.
The transcripts were filed. Their intent was to introduce a foreign language curriculum at the school. A requirement for funding was a community component, and school personnel turned to Rich Sill for help. He mentioned that the interview transcripts existed. That material, with its community focus, convinced teachers and others already interested in such a project, to write a book, which would be the basis for units, appropriate for students at each grade level, focusing on community history.
They met monthly, doing more research, gathering more oral histories, and photographs. There she meets Simon Haley, who becomes a professor of agriculture. Their son is Alex Haley , the author of the book. Search for his roots[ edit ] Alex Haley grows up hearing stories from his grandmother about the family's history. They tell him of an ancestor named Kunta Kinte, who was landed in "'Naplis" and given the slave name Toby.
The old African called a guitar a ko, and a river the Kamby Bolongo. While on a reporting trip to London, Haley sees the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum and thinks of his own family's oral traditions. Could he trace his own family lineage back to its origins in Africa? He attempts to locate the likeliest origin of the African words passed down by Kunta Kinte. Jan Vansina explains in the Mandinka tongue, kora is a type of stringed instrument, and bolongo is the word for river.
Kamby Bolongo could then refer to the Gambia River. A good griot could speak for three days without repeating himself.
He asks to hear the history of the Kinte clan, which lives in Juffure , and is taken to a griot named Kebba Kanji Fofana. After about two hours of "so-and-so took as a wife so-and-so, and begat," Fofana reached Kunta Kinte:   About the time the King's soldiers came, the eldest of these four sons, Kunta, when he had about 16 rains, went away from his village to chop wood to make a drum The Lord Ligonier had cleared customs in Annapolis on September 29, , and the slaves were advertised for auction in the Maryland Gazette on October 1, He concludes his research by examining the deed books of Spotsylvania County after September , locating a deed dated September 5, , transferring acres and a slave named Toby from John and Ann Waller to William Waller.
Renamed Toby. John Waller — planter , who downloads Kunta Dr. Waller's niece, who lives off the plantation, but visits Dr Waller regularly. She befriends Kizzy and teaches her reading and writing by playing "school".