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Roots by Alex Haley

Roots (1976)

by Alex Haley

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4,475591,094 (4.27)154
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English (55)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  All (59)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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!)
( )
  obridget2 | May 14, 2017 |
In terms of the reading the book, it was a very enjoyable experience. It is well-written and the story carries itself well with presenting and personalizing the inhumanity of Slavery. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Book on CD performed by Avery Brooks.

Haley’s blockbuster history of his ancestors begins with the birth of a baby boy – Kunta Kinte – in a small African village in the Spring of 1750, and ends two centuries later in Arkansas.

It’s a gripping tale and Haley is a great story teller. I was engaged from page one and found myself very interested in all aspects of the book – from Kunta Kinte’s boyhood in Africa, to his experiences as a slave, to the continued story of his descendants and how they kept the story of “the African” alive through the generations.

Haley’s narrative focuses on three of his male ancestors. Kunta Kinte’s story takes nearly half the book. His grandson “Chicken George” occupies much of the third of the book. And George’s son Tom, is the focus of the next major section as the family is emancipated at the end of the Civil War. I am struck by the fact that Haley gives little attention to the women in his ancestral line. Not only is Kizzy given short shrift, but Tom’s daughter Cynthia and granddaughter Bertha (who is Haley’s mother) are given less attention than their husbands – Will Parker and Simon Haley. And this, despite Haley’s statements that it was the “old women” – his grandmother, aunts and cousin who passed along the story of “The African” and his descendants. Still, this is a small quibble.

Avery Brooks does a magnificent job narrating the audio book. He is an accomplished actor and really brings the characters to life. His deeply resonant voice was mesmerizing, and despite his naturally deep timber he managed to give a believable voice to even the young girls.

While the book is catalogued by libraries as nonfiction / biography, Haley obviously had to invent the dialogue he uses for much of the book. (I find it interesting that more readers tag this as “fiction” than nonfiction.) When published the book was a runaway best seller, but also somewhat controversial. Haley was accused of plagiarism and he settled the case out of court, admitting that many passages from The African by Harold Courtlander appeared in his book. Additionally, many genealogists have questioned his research and feel that official records do not confirm the story much before the Civil War. None of this information takes away from the great story, however. ( )
1 vote BookConcierge | Apr 13, 2016 |
This book reminds me of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Mr Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Rest in Peace). Both books tell the story of families from one family member's life events to their children's and so on. I enjoyed it a little more than Mr. Marquez's book because this book also included historical events and how the family felt about the things going on around them. Another aspect of the book I enjoyed as well was the end where the author described how the book came about. The book is very well written and human nature is portrayed perfectly. Definitely adding this book to my favorite's list. Now, to see the movies/series :). ( )
  Beatriz_V_F | Feb 27, 2016 |
this is a perfect example of a book that would benefit from offering different rating criteria, rather than just one overall rating.

because of the cultural and historical significance of roots, it deserves 5-stars. but because i was really expecting much stronger writing and a smoother style - i mean, he's got 900 pages to work with here; it's not like there's a shortage of space - i feel like the book was only 2½ to 3-stars on the quality of writing.

i did very much enjoy the dialects haley used, so that was in no way an issue. (mentioned only because i have read a lot of reviews where this seems to be a chief complaint.) but there seemed to be strands that never came to much (the foreshadowing of a terrible relationship between brothers ashford and tom, for example, went exactly nowhere.) as well, chunks of time were skipped. i know haley was covering a lot of years, and not every single one could be accounted for, but some of these transitions were really awkward. for example, kunta kinte, so fierce, strong and determined to get free...skip ahead 4 years and he's resigned to his lot and on edge a bit still, but content-ish. to me, that was a jarring point in the book and a point at which i wanted more information. as well, the book - at least the edition i read - just went directly from the novel into alex haley's own recollections. the chapters just continuing as though nothing different was going on. it was interesting, but oddly presented.

i am very glad i have read the book, though. we had a first edition of it in our home when i was a kid. i did flip through it, reading bits of it; but i never read the whole book. and when the TV series debuted, it was a big deal - i remember watching it with my mum. so i have long felt like i knew the story. it's about time i actually, finally, read roots

and, really, for my criticisms of haley's writing style, i did find myself very engaged with the story of kunta kinte and the generations of his family. i think haley did a very good job bringing to life the horrors of slavery and the suffering endured. i will never, ever understand how people ever thought slavery, and all the evil cruelties involved, were acceptable. so this is a very necessary story, even with the brouhaha surrounding the work set aside.

harvard university professor dr. henry louis gates, jr. was a friend of haley, but years after his death gates acknowledged doubts about the author's claims. He said, "Most of us feel it's highly unlikely that Alex actually found the village whence his ancestors sprang. Roots is a work of the imagination rather than strict historical scholarship. It was an important event because it captured everyone's imagination." ( )
  Booktrovert | Feb 15, 2016 |
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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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440174643, Paperback)

It begins with a birth in 1750, in an African village; it ends seven generations later at the Arkansas funeral of a black professor whose children are a teacher, a Navy architect, an assistant director of the U.S. Information Agency, and an author. The author is Alex Haley. This magnificent book is his.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:01 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A black American traces his family's origins back to the African who was brought to America as a slave in 1767.

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