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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 (3119 )
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4.7 (2128 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Matthew Charleston, SC, United States 05-17-13
    Matthew Charleston, SC, United States 05-17-13
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    13
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    "Live the characters"

    Such a powerful story. I loved listening. Learned a lot. I will definitely listen again

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aimee 05-14-13
    Aimee 05-14-13
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    "everyone should read"

    One of the best modern books of all time. Fascinating, horrifying, a story of the power and strength of the human spirit and family. Avery Brooks was the perfect narrator. The end was simply fascinating as to how Alex Haley wrote and researched the book. I saw the TV version when I was about 9 or so, and the story changed me and has stayed with me since I was a child. Reading the book gives a deeper reminder of why this story is so important as an adult.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence New Rochelle, NY, United States 05-10-13
    Lawrence New Rochelle, NY, United States 05-10-13 Member Since 2012
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    8
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    "Fascinating"
    What did you love best about Roots?

    A well read story


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Roots?

    The middle passage,incredible the will to survive.


    What about Avery Brooks’s performance did you like?

    Totally professional.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I would not change a thing!


    Any additional comments?

    Simply Great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DCinMI Fairview, MI 05-06-13
    DCinMI Fairview, MI 05-06-13 Member Since 2016
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    "I'm still having chills! (the good kind)"

    I think most people have a good idea what this book is about, and, obviously, I'm not having good chills about the slavery stuff. I just absolutely can't get my head around the idea that human beings could treat other human beings that way.

    I am excited by the genealogical aspects of this story, though. I have been working on my family genealogy on and off for 20 years or so. My ancestors were Europeans and, fortunately, many along the way kept good records. I've been able to trace some branches back a long way, but it's not always easy. I guess I always assumed that African Americans trying to trace their ancestry would hit a wall at some point after the first slave ancestor was brought over.

    However, near the end of the book, the author mentions someone who told him that those of us who are used to relying on the written word underestimate the potential of oral history. The only way this book could have been written was because one African, brought over as a slave, started a tradition of telling his story to his descendants, and that tradition was kept up by each generation.

    Armed with the stories and the few words of his ancestral tongue that Alex Haley learned as a child at his grandma's knee, he was able to discover the tribe and location that his ancestor was captured from. He was able to travel there and meet with the keeper of the oral history of that tribe and hear, on a faraway continent and 200 years after the fact, the same story that ancestor had passed down.

    When the author described his feelings at hearing this, I could feel them right along with him. It sent chills up my spine and tears streaming down my face. It is amazing to think that there are people who spend their entire lives memorizing their tribal history back hundreds of years and keep adding to it and passing it on. The amount of detail that they can remember without having it written down is mind-boggling! I was amused when the author said that after he later found written verification of some things the tribesman had told him, he felt guilty, as if he had doubted the man.

    This is a fascinating story and a horrible reminder of the way things used to be. While there is certainly a lot to make us cringe, it is not, overall, a depressing book. We see not only the ultimately triumphant story of the author's ancestors, but also the moral evolution that has taken place in this country over the last couple hundred years. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joel FARMINGDALE, NY, United States 05-05-13
    joel FARMINGDALE, NY, United States 05-05-13
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    "It gets no better"
    If you could sum up Roots in three words, what would they be?

    Sorrow, Pain, Pride


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Roots?

    When Kizzy get sold


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

    When Kunte ties to escape and get caught and the white boy chop his foot off.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rossanne cook 05-03-13
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    24
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    "Roots the book, even better that the TV series"
    What did you love best about Roots?

    the history of black slavery is told by the people who lived it, and not by the people who held slaves.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer United States 04-24-13
    Amazon Customer United States 04-24-13
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    "A timeless classic....I laughed and cried a lot!"
    Where does Roots rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Roots is one of my favorite audiobooks of all times.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character had to be Kunta, but I really enjoyed Fiddler as well.


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

    Avery Brooks did a wonderful job with this story. He brought it to life. The different dialects that he used brought the book a living essence.


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

    Yes, I wish I had the time to listen to this book in one sitting. I didn't want to turn it off when I reached my destination.


    Any additional comments?

    What a journey!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra 04-23-13
    Sandra 04-23-13 Member Since 2012

    I love to multi-task with Audible!

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    "Intense!"
    Any additional comments?

    Years ago, I watched this story when it came out as a TV series. The book was so much more... more drama, more insight into what one human is capable of doing to another. The detail was so much more, Some of the discriptions and details were so vivid, I wanted to stop listening but couldn't.
    The movie just didn't get it right, once into the book... around chapter 3 I was totally hooked!
    It's a long story, and I took me almost a week of listening (hrs at a time) to get through it.
    I'll never say my time was wasted!
    I highly recommend this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steven arcadia, CA, United States 04-10-13
    steven arcadia, CA, United States 04-10-13
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    "This Book Belongs on Your Reading Bucket List"

    Avery Brooks' performance of Roots is impeccable! The characters, writing style and story line alone make this book a classic but this is one of those rare instances where the narrator takes an outstanding book and makes it even better. In retrospect, the book starts fairly slow in following Kunta Kinte's life as The African in his day-to-day activities on his native soil. However, you will find that once past this slow start the book builds into a literary crescendo that culminates with a perfect ending that wraps a nice bow around the entire story. If you've ever entertained even a notion of starting a genealogy study to trace your own roots, this book will inspire you to make it a reality. The story transcends time by seamlessly following the generations of people that follow The African and their resolve to never forget their origin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juanita Middletown, DE, United States 04-03-13
    Juanita Middletown, DE, United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2012
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    "ROOTS--the real story"
    If you could sum up Roots in three words, what would they be?

    moving
    believable
    factual


    What did you like best about this story?

    I was thrown into the action.


    What about Avery Brooks’s performance did you like?

    His performance drew me into the story.


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

    I did not want to listen to this book in one sitting, but I found myself wanting to hear what happened next.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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