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Roots Paperback – Jan 1 1994

4.7 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Paperback, Jan 1 1994
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (Jan. 1 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099362813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099362814
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,457,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Alex Haley's monumental tribute to his forebears provides not only the perfect antidote for Blacks in a society that perpetually miseducates us about our ancestral homeland, but also an unblinking and unflinching view of slavery.
This was the book that made Americans of all races and creeds care about this country's shameful past in a way that many never had before. The book points out the role of Arab slave traders in the problem, but it should be noted that under their auspices such problems stayed on African soil until the arrival of the toubob.
Haley does a brilliant job of getting inside the heads, hearts and souls of his forbear, Kunta Kinte and his family, however fictional certain aspects of the story may be. He warmly and lovingly re-creates both the positive and negative aspects of life in the village of Juffure, The Gambia, detailing their family lives, educational system, religious life, and their complex system of government. We learn about griots, who are highly reminiscent of the wandering minstrels of Medieval Europe, who through their songs and stories, pass the history of their people from one generation to another.I could feel the hot,arid climate of that region from just reading!
If people never read any other part of this epic saga, I would at least encourage them to read Chapter 24 in which Haley gives a brief but college-level education about the great kingdoms of West Africa, including Mali, the Kingdom where the world's first University was built in Timbuktu.
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Format: Paperback
Ever since I was little I saw the book laying on my parents small make-shaft book shelf and time to time I would look at the exterior and the size of the book with awe. One day a friend of mine brought this book back to my attention and I'd purchase it at my local book store. Alex Haley's 'Roots' is fantastic. It captures generations of love, tears, pain, strife, sacrifice, as well as happiness engulf close to 700-something pages.

I found myself getting so involved and moved by the characters' stories that I often had to put the book down and there were parts in there that just broke my heart and I swore I didn't want to read it anymore but instead it took me in further. Throughout the entire book I observed a repeating pattern of events that allow me to think about how for generations a family could hold on to their faith, beliefs, and traditions no matter what. Also, throughout this long life-span journey of Kunta Kinte and his proceeding family tree, and their experiences with the opposing lives of free-men and slaves, the author presents a precise central idea or opinion that is past down from generation to generation.

This central idea is so clearly emphasized by the title of the book. Alex Haley's opinion on the importance of a family or individuals roots or origins is much similar to the necessity of roots for the survival of plants; that provide anchoring and support. Not only did Haley believe that roots played a key roll in his life and the life of his entire family tree, but that in some cases it is the only noble aspect of life that one could be proud of, as it determines his identity.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book IS one of the landmarks in writing in the 20th century. It was the first REAL book that i started reading from start to end and WHAT a journey it was!! From the first page Alex Haley grips you into the epic story of Kunta Kinte leading up to the author's actual life. Despite the book's large size it will not matter as soon as you start reading it.
I found this book not only to be a work of fiction, but also a history lesson of the slavery era and black history in general. The dialogue and characters Haley talks about are top rate and he writes it in a way that makes you feel that you were actually there watching it all happen!! There are even some parts of the book where I found myself nearly shedding tears!!! due to the drama that unfold in the book, especially the part where he describes the slave ship.
I highly recommend this book for two reasons. First, because it is a fascinating look at the Slavery Era and what followed it with its 'raw' and dreadful reality. Second, because this book will educate those who read it, including myself, about the brave struggle of the Blacks in the U.S towards achieving their freedom.
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Format: Paperback
As far as the book itself is concerned, this is a reasonably engrossing story. There's too much dialogue filling in historical information that makes the flow awkward. The story definitely loses momentum toward the end, as very little of interest happens in the final chapters compared with what has come before.

Also, despite what you read within the pages, this story has little or no historical value. It certainly does not represent a historically accurate picture of Haley's family tree, despite what he says about his "research" and his journey to Africa. Tragically, the black experience has ensured that the kind of genealogical information we crave is irretrievable. That does not excuse Haley's sloppy work and false claims, however. Unfortunately, this book also contains much plagiarism of "The African" by Harold Courlander, as has been known since a lawsuit related to it in the 1970s.

Harold Courlander's novel, from which Alex Haley stole, is justly neglected - Haley's novel could justly be neglected too. It's a good read, but not an essential or important one. When you consider the baggage that it carries, one should look elsewhere for a definitive novel about the black experience. Maybe "The Book of Negroes" by Lawrence Hill?
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