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Roots Audiobook

Roots: The Saga of an American Family

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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Winner, Non-fiction, 2008

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 12 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 - slaves and freedmen, farmers and lawyers, an architect, teacher, and one acclaimed author - descended from Kunta Kinte.

©1974 Alex Haley. Renewed 2004 by Myran Haley, Cynthia Haley, Lydia Haley, and William Haley; (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America

What the Critics Say

"Being the consummate actor, [narrator Avery] Brooks has immersed himself into the role of narrator. In fact, it is difficult to describe what Avery Brooks does in this audiobook. He neither narrates nor performs, rather, he conjures. He brings the plethora of characters to life as memory, as history, as the pawns of diaspora. His narration begins in reverential tones as an homage to a literary masterwork, yet he ends it as a roar against racism." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (3118 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Storky 08-15-14
    Storky 08-15-14

    Storky46--Avid reader/listener. Love my old Kindle so much, I cannot bring myself to buy a new Fire.

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    "Better than the Mini-series!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Roots to be better than the print version?

    I had never read the book in print, but we watched the mini-series on television in the 70's. The audible book is an absolutely wonderful way to get the story. The reader is spot on with his language skills, and it was entertaining, moving, and a tear-jerker in many places.


    Have you listened to any of Avery Brooks’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have never heard another book by Mr. Brooks, but I will indeed look for more!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, the trip to America aboard the slave ship both intrigued me and disgusted me, making me so sad that people had been treated so badly during those dark times in our country's history. Another place was when Tom Lee and Chicken George lost so much to the British character in a rooster fight. It made me sad to hear that they lost everything they had, and then Chicken George had to go live in England away from his family to pay off Tom Lee's debt.


    Any additional comments?

    Both the writing and the narration of this book made it come alive--full of colorful characters and interesting history of one man's family and how he came to realize he could actually go back to Africa and discover the roots of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KG 07-28-14
    KG 07-28-14
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    "Out freakin standing."
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I totally binged on this book. I highly recommend it! It was good from an historical point of view as well as character development, etc. Just really good.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ms. and His South Range, WI USA 07-10-14
    Ms. and His South Range, WI USA 07-10-14 Member Since 2012

    Pat's

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    "Excellent"

    What a fabulous documentary this man tells for all. This brings to reality the severity of mankind

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen 07-03-14
    Kathleen 07-03-14 Member Since 2015
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    "I had forgotten what a great story this is."

    Years ago I read this book and watched the miniseries. I remember being very impressed as well as disturbed by the story. Listening to the book again brought back just how good the story is -I had forgotten so much of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, United States 06-28-14
    Anna COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, United States 06-28-14 Member Since 2012

    I listen to books as I work. It's a beautiful life.

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    "Excellent"

    This author does an absolutely amazing job of weaving the stories of his ancestors together. It is a truly remarkable accomplishment. He selected a great narrator who was able to bring the story to life. His rich, deep voice was mesmerizing. I would gladly listen to another book narrated by Avery Brooks. This story allowed me to experience such a wide range of emotions - from tears, to laughter, and heartbreak. I absolutely would recommend this amazing piece of literature. It's easily in my top 5 audiobooks. Spend your credit on this book and you won't regret it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rnnikki 06-24-14
    Rnnikki 06-24-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Addicting"

    A wonderfully crafted book that makes you feel as though you are right next to the characters through the whole book. It is vivid, honest, and emotionally charging. The narrator does an excellent job of bringing everyone to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sam shreveport, louisiana, United States 06-15-14
    sam shreveport, louisiana, United States 06-15-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Behold, A True Classic"

    I'd been meaning to listen to this for quite some time and was glad to have caught this as a daily deal. Most of you are probably familiar with Roots through the mini series; never seen it but I've heard good things. I knows there have been questions as to how accurately this depicts Alex Haley's personal family history, but that hardly takes away from the historical accuracy of the times it depicts as well as it's power as a novel.

    I've calculated that at least a quarter and a half of the book is devoted to Kunta Kinte; with much of that covering his life in The Gambia before his capture. I personally likes this insight into a traditional West African culture; though I always knew what was to come I became so engrossed that when Kunta was captured it came as a complete shock. Kunta's life after his capture, much like those of his descendants, is very much about doing what you can to stay true to who you are and make the best of grim circumstances. This is one of the longest books I've listened to so far, but I didn't mind in the slightest.

    When it was time for the book to end everyone from Kizzy, Chicken George, and all the descendants leading to Alex Haley himself, had come to feel like old friends and it was almost sad to say goodbye. This is a novel of tragedy and triumph, or loss and victory, and so on because that the way life and history are in all their twists, turns, ups and downs.

    This is a book written to give a voice to those whom history had so often ignored, but even more than that it shows how people are very much a like no matter what color they come in, and how black history is very much American history. You might see family faces in the characters.

    This is without doubt a modern day classic; don't be scared by the length, if I can do it so can you. Download today, you'll be glad you did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erik Sooke, British Columbia, Canada 05-29-14
    Erik Sooke, British Columbia, Canada 05-29-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A great history lesson in novel format"

    I'll commence by stating I have never seen the TV mini-series, so I approached this "must read" book with an open mind. Bottom line up front, I enjoyed it.

    This is fiction based on what the author believed to be his family story. As such, he did a great job fleshing out characters and places to create a story that is believable and very captivating. It could have been shortened somewhat in the first 1/3 of the book, as the African chapters tended to be over-described.

    The narrator was solid, but I had a hard time differentiating the accents he was trying to portray. He also struggled with the female voices.

    One of the complaints I had with the book was some of the contemporary phrases that and terms that made it into the story. I would be surprised if the terms "white trash" and "cracker" were in use in the year 1700.

    Obviously, the subject matter and the associated lexicon of institutionalized racism be avoided by those hyper sensitive to these issues.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    debmom23 05-18-14
    debmom23 05-18-14
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    "An Oldie but wow, what a goodie!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Roots to be better than the print version?

    I thought the audio version was captivating, Loved the characters even more.


    What does Avery Brooks bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    After seeing the mini-series years ago the book brought so much more to the characters. Loved this.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet H. Maddox 03-25-14
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    "As amazing as remembered"

    The story of Kunta Kinte and his family is as amazing as I remembered it from the mini-series, but this audio version is made even more amazing by detail and by the narration. You will be amazed again if you remember it, but you will be astounded by this story if you are coming to it for the first time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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