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Roots (1976)

by Alex Haley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,366701,369 (4.26)190
It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley's own family tree. When Alex was a boy growing up in Tennessee, his grandmother used to tell him stories about their family, stories that went way back to a man she called the African who was taken aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial America. As an adult, Alex spent twelve years searching for documentation that might authenticate what his grandmother had told him. In an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered the name of the "African"--Kunta Kinte--as well as the exact location of the village in West Africa from where he was abducted in 1767. Roots is based on the facts of his ancestry, and the six generations of people.… (more)
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» See also 190 mentions

English (64)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
First read this amazing book 40+ years ago. It maintains it's impact. It's a family story, an American story, a story of overcoming the worst of challenges. One of my top ten books of all time. ( )
  maryreinert | May 12, 2020 |
4.5/5 Stars

OMG, my biggest accomplishment in reading to date has been completed! I am so tempted to fall on my face, kick, swing my arms, scream, laugh & roll around on the floor in glee! Ecstatic much?!?! lol

I first bought this book in approximately 2006-2008 (within about the same time of the 30th year anniversary in 2006). I had read the first 40 something pages and didn't really pick it up much over the years but when I did, I made it to around the early 80 something pages. When I finally picked it up again in around October or November of last year (again, approximate months..I just know it was late last year)..I had made it approximately 250-300 something pages in and gradually read a little more and got a little further over the months until I finally made it to 500 pages in...I finally picked it up again this week and started reading it again along with the audio I had bought some time ago. I think I listened more than I read but still had to pick up the book to read along to understand what was going on and being said when some of the 'speaking parts' of the slaves came up.

Now, I can say, that I did enjoy this book immensely. Throughout the book, it had its slow but good moments, boring hurry up and get past it moments and some eye widening moments. But all in all, it was a very enjoyable book.

Yes, I do know the controversy of the book. But the way I look at it, yes, the said issues that took place may have been wrong on his part, but I understand why he did it. The little I was able to see/hear of The African I could see/hear the "similarities". Many try to say his story wasn't real because of that..but again, how I see it, just because he supposedly did all of that, doesnt make his family lineage any less real (I say similar and supposedly because I have yet to read The African all the way through or do deep research into it yet..I only looked into it a little bit)

Although I loved the early years of Kunta Kinte, his later years, I enjoyed more. I can say my favorites in Alex Haley's family were Kunta, Kizzy, Chicken George & Tom..Oh, and I loved Ol' George too! lol.. I can't and won't go into great detail why they were all my favorites because they all had their own reasons why I loved them.

This book, of course, gave a lot of detail the movie couldn't. And of course, there were a lot of differences about when things took place, who did what and when (from what I remember, I haven't watched the movies in about 4 years now..although I've seen the movies at least ten times so I can remember most of it but some things are kind of fuzzy and I need to go back and refresh my memory)

Roots was my favorite movie (weird to say that huh?!?!). I have Roots: The Next Generation but have yet to sit through it all yet. I guess I need to take the time to do that now. But it is a long one. I don't think it's as long Roots but it's still pretty lengthy. What I have watched of it, they had replaced Ben Vereen (The Original Chicken George..Love him as an actor period) with someone else..It took me a while to get over that one because I loved Ben Vereen playing George. I need to replace Roots because I had watched them so much, they got scratched up pretty badly.

What took me so long to read the book before and after I bought it?

Well, before I bought it, I wasn't a huge reader and it's such a huge book, that even now, it's still intimidating (I've read big books before, yes..i.e Twilight Saga but it's still daunting and has a lot more going on! )

After buying the book?!?!

Well, I just wasn't ready. But I wasn't crazy enough to get rid of what I believe is one of the original printings of the book. Since buying it, the cover has torn apart on me and don't remember the copyright date exactly but I do remember only seeing one year on there. But, when I was ready/getting myself ready to read the book, I finally did pick it up and start on the journey of reading this book. I am so glad that I did! I'm even happier that I got through it and it is now finished!!! #Yes!

So, again, over all, this book was really, really good! The only reason it got the 4.5/5 Stars instead of the full 5/5 is because I did get bored many times...But I guess with certain books, that sometimes happens. :-)

Thank you for those of you who took time to read all of this! I guess it's good that sometimes, I write really short "reviews" so I can get away with long ones like this! (Don't really like the word review because generally, it's just random thoughts about a book and anything that I personally believes relates to that said book!)
( )
  RamblingBookNerd | Jun 5, 2019 |
dust jacket, signed by author
  Sheila01 | Mar 3, 2019 |
Roots is a genuinely compelling read which brought, and continues to bring, a new awareness of the horrors of slavery. However, if you've read any of the Slave Narratives, you know it was actually far worse than this book portrays.

What truly diminished the story for me was how glossed over the post-Civil War backlash against blacks was. A couple of white guys talk a little smack and then just wander off when the Kinte descendants refuse to cooperate. There is absolutely no mention of the Klan or lynchings or any of that.

I suppose if you haven't read much non-fiction on this topic it would have a greater impact. For me, however, it seemed really toned down. I wish Mr. Haley had been given the chance to write this one novel as a multi-part series. I feel this would have given him a chance to expand upon the post-Civil War era. Sadly, the publishing world was barely ready to release this book at the time. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Jan 13, 2019 |
I've never seen the miniseries, so I came to this saga of Kunta Kinte and his descendants with no idea what to expect. And there's so much here. So many events, so many lives, so much tragedy, so much joy. I've read that some dispute the details of the lineage described here, but that doesn't change the fact that it is a true story - true in that this really is how many black people, enslaved and free, lived in America during this time. It's a powerful reminder of our past without losing hope for our future. Recommended.

A note on the audio: Avery Brooks has a very soothing voice. His narration was fantastic. ( )
  melydia | Oct 7, 2018 |
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Wij zwarten
It wasn't planned that Roots' researching and writing finally would take twelve years. Just by chance it is being published in the Bicentennial Year of the United States. So I dedicate Roots as a birthday offering to my country within which most of Roots happened.
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Early in the spring of 1750, in the village of Juffure, four days upriver from the coast of The Gambia, West Africa, a manchild was born to Omoro and Binta Kinte.
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