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Roots ❮BOOKS❯ ⚣ Roots Author Alex Haley – Thomashillier.co.uk When he was a boy in Henning Tennessee Alex Haley's grandmother used to tell him stories about their family—stories that went back to her grandparents and their grandparents down through the generat When he was a boy in Henning Tennessee Alex Haley's grandmother used to tell him stories about their family—stories that went back to her grandparents and their grandparents down through the generations all the way to a man she called the African She said he had lived across the ocean near what he called the Kamby Bolongo and had been out in the forest one day chopping wood to make a drum when he was set upon by four men beaten chained and dragged aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial AmericaStill vividly remembering the stories after he grew up and became a writer Haley began to search for documentation that might authenticate the narrative It took ten years and a half a million miles of travel across three continents to find it but finally in an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work he discovered not only the name of the African—Kunta Kinte—but the precise location of Juffure the very village in The Gambia West Africa from which he was abducted in at the age of sixteen and taken on the Lord Ligonier to Maryland and sold to a Virginia planterHaley has talked in Juffure with his own African sixth cousins On September he stood on the dock in Annapolis where his great great great great grandfather was taken ashore on September Now he has written the monumental two century drama of Kunta Kinte and the six generations who came after him—slaves and freedmen farmers and blacksmiths lumber mill workers and Pullman porters lawyers and architects—and one authorBut Haley has done than recapture the history of his own family As the first black American writer to trace his origins back to their Roots he has told the story of Americans of African descent He has rediscovered for an entire people a rich cultural heritage that slavery took away from them along with their names and their identities But Roots speaks finally not just to blacks or to whites but to all people and all races everywhere for the story it tells is one of the most elouent testimonials ever written to the indomitability of the human spirit.


About the Author: Alex Haley

Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was an American writer He is best known as the author of Roots The Saga of an American Family and of The Autobiography of Malcolm X the latter of which he wrote in collaboration with Malcolm X.



10 thoughts on “Roots

  1. Nandakishore Varma Nandakishore Varma says:

    I read this book long long ago came across it while going through a book list here on Goodreads and suddenly felt the urge to post a reviewDear Kunta KinteWe are separated by time space and culture Throughout your largely tragic life you would never have imagined that your story would ever be written let alone read by a bookish teenager in far away India for whom slavery till that day was only a fact learned from school textbooks mucked up to pass hated history exams However Mr Kinte you would be pleased to know that reading your story penned by your descendant Mr Alex Haley changed his whole outlook He suffered with you MrKinte as you lay chained up in the dark and dank hold of the slaving vessel he felt the searing pain as your foot was cut off as punishment for trying to run away he choked back the bitter disappointment along with you when your master told you that the money you had saved up was not enough to buy you freedom namely that you were too poor to pay for what you were worthand he suffered the agony of separation with you as your daughter was sold off And that teenager hung his head in shame as he thought of similar atrocities perperated by his forefathers in the name of casteMrKinte that day the boy took a vow never ever to insult the dignity of another human being; also not forget these crimes against humanity lest they be repeatedMrKinte I am that boy I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lessons your story taught meYours sincerelyNandakishore Varma


  2. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    Roots The Saga of an American Family Roots Alex Haley Roots The Saga of an American Family is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in 1976 Roots tells the story of Kunta Kinte—a young man taken from the Gambia when he was seventeen and sold as a slave—and seven generations of his descendants in the United States Kunta a Mandinka living by the River Gambia has a difficult but free childhood in his village Juffure His village subsists on farming and sometimes they lack enough food as the climate is harsh Kunta is surrounded by love and traditions Ominously the village had heard of the recent arrival of toubob men with white skins who smell like wet chickens Kunta is excited to see the world At one point Kunta sees men in hoods taking away some of the children This confuses Kunta but is eager to learn his father Omoro will take him outside Juffure Omoro and Kunta set off learning much about their surroundings When they return Kunta brags to all his friends about the journey but does not pay attention to his family's goats which fall prey to a pantherLater on Kunta is taken off from manhood training with other children of his kafo division or grade Kunta learns even about the Gambia but fears the slave trade which he learns is closer to home than he thinks Kunta passes his training and learns about Juffure's court system One day he witnesses the case of a young girl who was kidnapped by the toubob and came back pregnant She gives birth to a mixed raced child and the case is unresolved One morning when Kunta is cutting wood to make a drum he is ambushed by slatees black slave traders and is knocked unconscious He awakens in the brig of a ship naked and chained After a nightmarish journey across the Atlantic on board the British slave ship Lord Ligonier he is landed in Annapolis in the British colony of Maryland John Waller of Spotsylvania County Virginia purchases Kunta at an auction and gives him the name Toby However Kunta is headstrong and tries to run away four times When he is captured for the last time slave hunters cut off part of his right foot to cripple him Kunta is then bought by his master's brother Dr William Waller He becomes a gardener and eventually his master's buggy driver Kunta also befriends a musician slave named Fiddler In the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War Kunta marries Bell Waller's cook and together they have a daughter Kizzy Kizzy's childhood as a slave is as happy as her parents can make it She is close friends with John Waller's daughter Missy Anne and she rarely experiences cruelty Her life changes when she forges a traveling pass for her beau Noah a field hand When he is caught and confesses she is sold away from her family at the age of sixteen Kizzy is bought by Tom Lea a farmer and chicken fighter who rose from poor beginnings He rapes and impregnates her and she gives birth to George who later becomes known as Chicken George when he becomes his father's cockfighting trainer Chicken George is a philanderer known for expensive taste and alcohol as much as for his iconic bowler hat and green scarf He marries Matilda and they have six sons and two daughters including Tom who becomes a very good blacksmith Tom marries Irene a woman originally owned by the Holt family تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز نوزدهم ماه فوریه سال 1979 میلادیعنوان ریشه ها؛ نویسنده الکس هیلی؛ مترجم علیرضا فرهمند؛ تهران، خوارزمی، 1357؛ در 695 ص؛ چاپ دوم تهران، امیرکبیر، 1361؛ چاپ سوم 1363؛ چهارم 1367؛ پنجم 1369؛ ششم 1382؛ هفتم 1387؛ هشتم 1388؛ نهم و دهم 1392؛ یازدهم 1393؛ شابک 9789643030506؛ چاپ دوازدهم 1394؛ در 775 ص؛ شابک 9789640018224؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی سده 20 معنوان ریشه ها؛ نویسنده الکس هیلی؛ مترجم محمدتقی کرباسی؛ حسن مروی؛ تهران، جاویدان، 1366؛ در 416 ص؛ چاپ ششم 1387؛ شابک 9786005381061؛داستان، وضعیت نابسامان آمریکاییان آفریقایی‌ تبار، و بیان رنج‌ها و کاستی‌های زندگی ایشان در دوران برده‌ داری و پس از آن است در نگاهی ژرفتر، نویسنده به شناساندن مفاهیم تبعیض نژادی، بردگی، بیگاری و زیر تملک دیگران بودن، می‌پردازد، و آن را محکوم می‌کند کتاب نیمه مستندی ست که به شکل رمان نوشته شده، و بیانی واقع‌گرایانه دارد، داستان با زایش قهرمان اصلی «کونتا کینته» در دهکده‌ ای مسلمان، و در باختر قاره ی آفریقا آغاز می‌شود او با فرهنگ سنتی رشد می‌کند، و زندگی آرام و بی‌ دغدغه‌ ای را به همراه خانواده، و قبیله‌ خویش می‌گذراند اما تراژدی از جایی آغاز می‌شود که بازرگانان برده، او را غافلگیر کرده و می‌ربایند او به همراه عده‌ ای دیگر در بدترین وضع، با کشتی‌های تجارت برده، به آمریکا برده می‌شود، و به فروش می‌رسد «کونتا کینته» در آمریکا متحمل رنج‌های بسیاری می‌شود او که پیشتر آزاد و شرافتمندانه زندگی کرده، باید صبح تا شام عرق بریزد، و کار کند و ناظر تصاحب دسترنجش به دست دیگران باشد در آغاز زبان انگلیسی را نمی‌داند، و به سایر بردگان سیاه، با نظر تحقیر می‌نگرد، و از اینروی همه از او کناره می‌گیرند او که مسلمانی باورمند است، باور دارد که بردگان از اصل و ریشه ی خویش فاصله گرفته، و سرسپرده ی سفیدپوستان شده‌ اند، اما به تدریج زبان انگلیسی را می‌آموزد، و درمی‌یابد که اینان هرگز در آفریقا نبوده‌ اند، و برده، زاده شده‌ اند هم‌چنین می‌فهمد که این بردگان هرگزی از وضع خود راضی نیستند، و گاه‌ به فرار، یا حتی به شورش می‌اندیشند، بدین ترتیب با آنان احساس همدردی می‌کند اما هرگزی از باورهای خود برنمی‌گردد، و پیوسته تلاش می‌کند آفریقایی‌ تباران را، با میراث خویش آشنا سازد او سرانجام ازدواج می‌کند، صاحب فرزندی می‌شود، و داستان همین‌گونه ادامه می‌یابد، تا به خود نویسنده می‌رسد این داستان از دیدگاه تاریخی نیز، بیانگر رویدادهای جنگ‌های استقلال، و تأسیس ایالات متحده آمریکا، شورش‌های بردگان، جنگ داخلی، و لغو برده‌ داری نیز هست «آلکس هیلی» در بخش‌های پایانی کتاب، به شرح حال کوتاهی از خویشتن می‌پردازد، از چگونگی دستیابی‌ اش به شرح حال قهرمانان داستان سخن می‌گوید، و از انگیزه‌ هایش برای نوشتن زندگی‌نامه ی خانواده و نیاکانش پرده برمی‌دارد ا شربیانی


  3. Ebookwormy1 Ebookwormy1 says:

    This book was astonishing to me particularly the narrative of Kunta Kinte's life This is why I read What an amazing description of African culture and the rights of manhood Then the horrible violation of slavery and the cross cultural experience of an African joining slaves who were predominately born in the United States Sounds silly but though I've read many books on slavery none have dealt with the differences among slaves themselves and how growing up as a slave shaped how African Americans thought and interacted both with whites and with newly arrived Africans I could understand why Alex Haley is the best selling African American author to dateI wanted to give this book a 5 But two things prevented me from giving it the highest ratingFirst when the book moves away from Kunte Kinte into successive generations while it has engaging moments something of the brilliance was lost This was strange to me After reading the book I did some research on Alex Haley and Roots and discovered that there were allegations that Haley plagiarized from Harold Courlander's The African published nine years before Roots It seems the passages in uestion were concentrated in the life of Kunta Kinte; after Courlander sued Haley an out of court monetary settlement from Haley to Courlander was made though Haley seems to have maintained innocence in the matter Could it be that the brilliance of the book came from Courlander's work? I don't know and have reuested The African from inter library loan in order to investigate further Margaret Walker Alexander filed a similar suit but hers was dismissed The legal actions of both Courlander and Walker were resolved in 1978 This was two years after the publication of Roots in 1976 and one year after a national television miniseries boosted sales and interest in 1977 I will also hunt down Walker's bookSecondly the genealogical work behind the book has come into uestion This wouldn't be a problem except that the final chapters present the genealogy as factually verified by the author in an attempt to place the work firmly in the historical fiction genre In addition these final chapters uphold Haley's lineage as a kind of beacon for all of African descent who don't know who they are This could have been done in the realm of fiction without the assertion of fact but it wasn'tI was very disappointed by these revelations I felt mislead even betrayed by Alex Haley However I must concede that even with these faults the book is a wonderful read that opened up new doors of thought to me and shaped my thinking in new ways For that I am grateful As a follow up I have also confirmed that Haley plagiarized from Margaret Walker's book Jubilee an absolutely fabulous book written by the first African American woman to earn a PhD I would highly recommend this book In addition reading both The African and Jubilee helped me to see a little of what Haley was getting at with writing RootsNow that I understand his perspective better I can see that Roots definitely had an agenda Black Power connected with Africanism and Islam which is probably also represented in The Autobiography of Malcolm X Note the following when you read it1 The extremely compelling portions on Africa have been criticized as current social anthropology as opposed to history2 There is an emphasis lacking in Courlander's The African on Islamic belief as opposed to voodoo being the religious and cultural grounding of the African community3 Christianity is covertly proclaimed as the white man religion used by slave traders to stomp out cultural identity and practices that might lead blacks to gather up enough confidence to start a successful rebellion4 Apparently the book kicked off a ton of travel to Africa during which African Americans found they were not embraced as Haley alludes they would be Also many believe Haley's documentation of his trip to Africa is entirely false and that the groit he met and all the officials involved were coached and eager to see Haley be successful in generating interest in their country5 All of these things would be forgivable IF Haley had merely written a work of fiction We would suspect authors had their own ideas agendas and perspectives But the intro and those last chapters are horrifically misleading It's almost like he believed his own press And the IDEA that he was going for is powerful that Africans were stripped of their roots by the slave industry and that this has been harmful to them But this reality only serves to underline the strong motive he had for promoting this perspective and African Islam Black Power as the logical fulfillment salvation to such a paradigm6 Some of the uotes references to Haley lead me to believe he wasn't a very nice person not that anyone wants to say that outright but it's there It certainly appears he was looking to a black Muslim identity for wholeness salvation and power Hopefully he found peace with God and others before he diedAlso regarding Jubilee specifically I recognized one paragraph in the first chapter that I'm pretty sure was copied verbatim The main character Vyry and her mother Sis Hetta whose death opens the book seem to have 'inspired' Haley's character Kizzy But as obvious as that was perhaps the biggest thing Haley lifted from Jubilee was the idea to write about one's descendants and that such knowledge was important for the coming generations Walker's dedication communicates this intention with less dramatic flair than Haley's claims about flying the globe roaming through records and finding groits who harbor verbal testimony of his ancestors all while the oldest and last of his relatives is dyingI would still recommend Roots but I thought these observations might be helpful in positioning the work within its proper historical context For 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 EnjoyThe Autobiography of Malcolm X Alex Haley 1965Jubilee Margaret Walker 1966httpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshowThe African Harold Courlander 1967httpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshowAlso from Goodreads discussion below this reviewRoots Philip Nobile “The Village Voice” February 23 1993After Haley’s death his private papers were released and reviewed by Philip Nobile who published a definitive article in 1993 Nobile’s article details specific problems with Haley’s account and includes numerous primary sources 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 It cost me 1 Also from Goodreads discussion below this review10 Big Lies about America Medved 2008Big Lie #2 The United States is Uniuely Guilty for the Crime of Slavery and Based Its Wealth on Stolen African LaborhttpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshowA new book has been written that I prefer to Roots A generational narrative that spans from Africa to America and back seeHomegoing Gyasi 2016httpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshow


  4. Tahera Tahera says:

    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 than happy to keep the copyI 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 only he but his subseuent generation of descendants fight against odds to keep their identity as well as the story of Kunta Kinte alive A must read


  5. Duane Duane says:

    Magnificent The epic chronicle of a family through many generations of cruelty hardship and suffering But it's much 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 reuired reading in high schools because all of us regardless of age race or gender should understand this history 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 today45 stars


  6. Michael Finocchiaro Michael Finocchiaro says:

    I was only 8 when Roots came out and my family being of the average racist variety in Florida at the time we did not watch it on TV in 1977 In the meantime I did a lot of work to unroot that racism I was brought up with and read widely Alice Walker Toni Morrison Toni Cade Bambara Zora Neale Hurston Malcolm X Ralph Ellison etc but until now some 43 years later I read Roots by Alex Haley It was a moving experience particularly the middle passage of Kunta Kinta from La Gambia to 'Napolis which I found particularly horrifying In the coda Chapter 120 Alex Haley says that he purposefully took a freighter along that same route sleeping in the hold nearly naked on a wooden plank Hardcore Now there were several lawsuits one of which Haley lost for plagiarism of parts of Roots This did bother me a little bit but it didn't take away from the narrativeRoots is the story of Alex Haley's family from his ancestor Kunta Kinte who was captured in The Gambia in West Africa and enslaved in Virginia It is grueling and violent and definitely a critical read for understanding the history of slavery and the horrors of being considered less than human The first third of the book is a gorgeous description of life in Africa for the young Kunta Then we follow his life in America as a slave followed by that of his daughter Kizzy her son Chicken George and his son Tom all ancestors of author Alex Haley The horrors of slavery are laid out in plain view and anyone that reads this and does not come away with a sick feeling in their soul and a total lack of sympathy for rebels and other mythology panderers for the lost Confederacy has not really read the book There was absolutely nothing redeemably about slavery and no moral reason whatsoever to defend its many many waves of abuse The Civil War was indeed about slavery at its core regardless of what the racist revisionists wish to sayI felt that the 1977 Roots was a bit dated watching a bit of it now 43 years later However I would highly highly recommend the 2016 version from the History Channel It was riveting and beautifully shot It takes some liberties with the text but they are interesting diversions and interpretations and do not detract or demean Haley's work My French born son who was largely unfamiliar with the history of slavery other than the recent George Floyd outcry was moved deeply by this show which he also admitted was education His statement Slavery was really shit dad pretty much sums it up


  7. Ashley Ashley says:

    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 timeI finally picked it up 6 days ago and finished it about 10 minutes ago 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 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 lifestyleTo 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 I can't imagine just being taken away from my famly and my COUNTRY to some strange place where they don't even speak a language I know The story telling was so descriptive I cried cringed and just felt a weight on my heartFollowing 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 onThe 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 thatAll 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 amazingI 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 Hmm Something to look upTo 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 personWONDERFUL BOOK


  8. Heather Heather says:

    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


  9. Susan& Susan& says:

    I loved both the book and movie versions of this powerful historical saga I will never forget the indomitable Kunta Kinte This book changed my very sheltered teenage world view Decades later I am now reading Esi Edugyan's Washington Black and once again I am brought face to face with humanity's truly awful dark side I have to read these gut wrenching novels in bits and pieces because my poor aging heart can no longer take so much horror in one long sittingWith the perspective of time and and my own life experience and after reading Roots and many other historical novels I've come to realize this We humans constantly abuse POWER whether it comes in the form of money position or some other sort of bestowed privilege There have been rebellions throughout history attempting to redress the imbalance caused by all the abuses of power in this world I used to read historical novels almost exclusively during my teens and twenties but as I entered my thirties and forties I became jaded and I turned to historical novels less and less We don't ever seem to learn our lessons do we? History just keeps repeating itself in a timeless loop only the costumes players and settings seem to changeLately I've been listening to Simon and Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence as performed by the group Disturbed Silence like a cancer grows so very true Our silence our complacency allows people like Trump to become our Neon Gods Because so many of us are afraid to think for ourselves we surrender to what is fed to us by the media and other prevailing dogma We have to examine all the crutches that so many of us need in this life a religion or philosophy to believe in and blindly follow stockpiles of money so we can build a false sense of security or create temporary happiness by indulging in luxurious status symbols phones cars mc mansions brand name clothes and our consumption of food alcohol and drugs often to excess I am just as guilty of all of thisThose of us who love to retreat into the world of books need to support authors like Esi Edugyan Alex Hailey and countless others who shine the stark light of truth on man's historical and ongoing inhumanity to man Reading helps us to examine diverse thoughts and viewpoints Hopefully we can evolve our own notions of what we need to do to co exist with tolerance and forgiveness Keep reading lest we forget


  10. Michelle Michelle says:

    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 1977 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 once pointed out 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


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