Roots Paperback – Jan 1 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
It is now one of her favorite books.
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?
Most recent customer reviews
The book arrived at its destination in good condition and in good time. I'm sure my my dad is enjoying the read.Published on Jan. 14 2014 by Oddey