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
This is a must listen. Absolutely fantastic history made only better by the narrator. You will feel like you are there throughout the story. I recommend this book to everyone I talk to. It will stay with you for a long time after to have finished listening. Get this one - you will not feel like you have wasted your credit / money!
I still remember the day back in 4th grade when our teacher showed us edited parts of the TV series based off this excellent book...now that I am past 30 I discovered the book that inspired that series and formed my views of how tragic our past that we allowed slavery to occur with no effective opposition! I have read about how some of the book and author are challenged and discredited and I don't care in the least about that nonsense. Even if that is true it makes no difference because this is a beautiful story that needed to be told. It could have been true of any number of families and it does us good to hear it!!!! Great book and good narration!
Let me start by saying that I would pay money to listen to Avery Brooks read a phone book. I have seen the mini series and I even have it on ITunes. But I couldn't listen to all of this. I tried.
The very start of the story - herding goats in Africa was very dull. Too dull.
Then there was the torturous boat. Too much graphic detail about all the putrid details of every kind of nasty fluid a sick and tortured body can produce and it went on forever. I couldnt. I just couldnt.
I like Irish and Swedish crime thrillers and sociological exposes concerning African American life from Colonial times to the end of WWII. Recently I have taken a real liking to the works of Neal Stephenson and Fyodor Dostoevsky as well.
The hard, direct and informative narration about the treacherous road that Africans took from challenging yet satisfying life in their native homeland through the hell that was the Middle Passage and then being stripped of all of their culture, language and even their names to work the dejected role of the slave. Listening to Avery Brooks' many accents and voices to bring the story to life was truly a wonderful experience.
I might compare it to Slavery by Another Name in its severe depiction of the hardships of slave life although that book was geared more to the hardships of post-Civil War slavery.
His voices and accents were well done and calculated. Some voices sound the same but you always know who is speaking at any given time. His pronunciation of important African places and names gave a real authenticity to the work.
Generally, the moments when main characters were ripped away from their family members or when a
I felt that the very detailed early half of the book was wonderful but after Tom's story, when there would normally have been greater detail as it was historically speaking more recent events was lightly skated over, I thought. He could have gone into more detail about the challenges of Reconstruction and the failure of the American Government to make African Americans truly
I have worked so hard for so long that I've had very little time to read. Enter iPhone4; now an earbud has cut driving time while I enjoy!!!
This book should be mandatory for every school child around the 9th grade. The main reason, of course is to learn of the plight of those proud people who were forcibly brought from Africa to be sold as slaves, and how their children, many times were ripped from their mother's arms, how entire families were separated from each other, and how the African woman, after enduring even all these atrocities, were raped by their "Massas" and forced to have their children.
The main focus is on Kunta Kinte, a proud African from a long blood-line, who refused to give up his name, his very identity, his heritage, and how he suffered at the whip, then gradually, over time, having to give in, after half his foot was cut off preventing him from ever being able to run away again.
Another reason school children should read this is so that they may know how their contemporaries were treated, how their upbringing was to instill respect for their elders, where they were silent unless spoken to, a respect that will be a hard lesson for the children of today, growing up in a world that is not their oyster.
Of the book itself, from the first page to the last I was held hostage, ignoring all but my basic chores and responsibilities to read of these proud people who were so wrongly treated! Of course I watched the mini-series years ago, but the reader paints a picture even more vivid than the movie.
The blemish is still here today; it cannot be ignored! I have lived 7 decades and have witnessed great leaps in our education of the equality of man. But, still, we have a lot to do. As you can see, I highly recommend this book; you will not be disappointed, no matter what your background.
An amazing story. You will not regret downloading it. Also, Captain Benjamin Sisko from Deep Space Nine is a fantastic narrator.
Avery Brooks has a voice like warm butter. He's wonderful to listen to.
I loved the first part of this book. The second part, not as much.
I was disappointed to find that there were parts of Roots plagerized from another book (The African). However, the story is still good, and in terms of Brooks' performance of it, I can't complain. I feel therefore torn between a good story, excellent narration...and my distaste for the questionable ethics behind behavior attached to it. While the book is educational, I find it ironic that a falsified personal history (rather than letting this be what it was: historical fiction) is to be the vehicle for that message.
I'm on my 315th audiobook since 2007. I only discovered Audible in 2010 and I find it's a great way to manage my audiobook budget.
I am a white girl from Southern Mississippi. I first read Roots when I was in the fifth grade. I vaguely remembered my parents watching the TV mini series when I was little and since I was on a tear through Elementary School to read every classic novel ever written, I picked this one up in the library and thought it would make for some good "light reading". I thought that any book that was a TV series in the 70s was definitely "light", despite the bulk of the tome in my hand. I started reading and was captivated by the story. Particularly the account of Kunta's trek across the Ocean aboard the galley ship...I remember tears in my eyes. I felt like I could feel his pain. I read the book again in High School. I thought maybe it had been blown up in my imagination due to my tender years the first time around. I was wrong and was just as captivated. I read this book for the final time after I joined the Navy. Lying in my rack at night, listening the groaning of the Destroyer's hull and feeling the thin mattress of my "coffin rack", the Kunta's ocean journey was even more meaningful. I tried to watch the TV series. It just didn't resonate with me like the book did. When I saw the unabridged version on Audible, I downloaded it dubiously and then became captivated once again. This time not only by the characters, but also by the deep, resonant voice of Avery Brooks as he made these characters come to life.
This isn't a book you listen to, it's a book you experience. Thank you Mr. Haley and Mr. Brooks. This book is truly part of my soul.
I listened to Gone With the Wind, and then I listened to Roots. What an mind-blowing juxtaposition it becomes, when the Roots folks end up in the cotton-planting South.
This is such a fascinating story. I don't care too much about the controversy over its ultimate accuracy; it's still a fascinating story and legacy and history. I appreciated this audiobook and was glad I listened.
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