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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 (3168 )
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4.7 (2175 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rnnikki 06-24-14
    Rnnikki 06-24-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    DK 03-16-14
    DK 03-16-14 Member Since 2013

    No spoilers! Love HOT, sexy books w/a plot. No vampires, paranormal, teens 4 me. I also review in exchange for books-lots of fun surprises!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Powerful & Complicated Book Pay Attention30+ Hours"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Roots to and why?

    I cannot think of anything that is as well documented and personal as Alex Haley's Roots.


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

    He is a fantastic narrator. A smooth, warm sound with distinctive voice for each character male, female, black, white, young and old. Perfection...


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, over 30 hours long-this is very detailed and it is very important to pay close attention. It is heavy 'listening'.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a very descriptive, vibrant story. It is history 'come alive' - the good, bad and the ugly... a portrayal of Alex Haley's unique story of his family's history.

    Highly recommend for any student of history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pam Speedway, IN, United States 02-26-14
    Pam Speedway, IN, United States 02-26-14 Member Since 2015
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    "absolutely loved it"
    What made the experience of listening to Roots the most enjoyable?

    A great story about an American family. Very touching.


    Any additional comments?

    Everyone should read or listen to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stephen new york, NY, United States 11-18-13
    stephen new york, NY, United States 11-18-13 Member Since 2014
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    "I Hadn't Realised How Good this Book Is."
    Where does Roots rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Roots is in the top 5 of over 300 books I've listened to.


    What did you like best about this story?

    For me, not being an American, this book is a real eye opener and a reasonably well told story.


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

    A magnificently crafted performance. One of the best readers around. wish he did some more.


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

    The selling of Kizzy.


    Any additional comments?

    A worthwhile experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chasidyCormier Euless, Tx, United States 11-12-13
    chasidyCormier Euless, Tx, United States 11-12-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "TOUCHING ,HONESTY, TRUTH!!"
    Would you listen to Roots again? Why?

    Yes. This is an amazing insight on the roots of African American people. A lifelong journey!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Kizzy. She was the definition of a real woman.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book made me laugh, cry, and realize!!


    Any additional comments?

    I watched the movie Roots twice. The movies are extremely long but well worth the watch! The book is the same, I LOVE IT!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gina Burnsville, NC, United States 11-04-13
    Gina Burnsville, NC, United States 11-04-13 Member Since 2013

    I love Jesus, family, animals, nature ~ I'm in school for Web Technologies and Information Systems Technology. I love web design and writing.

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    "Simply the best story"

    I loved Roots when I was a young girl and still love it today. It is an amazing saga of one young man and his voyage from his home in Africa to the slave quarters in America. The story is often sad, but always hopeful. I truly LOVE this story and can't imagine a better story to listen to. I recommend this to anyone who cares to hear a great story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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