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
"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)
When I first started Roots, I loved it. I was reading a part in less than a week (each part was at least 7 hours long)...that is until I got to the last part. It was becoming so hard to listen to as the generations continued. The story sounded less and less authentic and personable as the generations went on. Still, the narration by Avery Brooks was flawless. My issues with the book are with the author - especially after learning that there were accusations against him of plagiarism; however, I would recommend everyone to read this. It invoked in me a desire to learn about my past and it made me proud knowing that as an African American female, we as a society have come so far. One of the most memorable sections of the book was Kinte's childhood in Africa. The people, customs, and traditions were so rich!
I've seen the movie several times throughout my life and every time I feel new emotions. The story and narration of this book put me over the edge and challenged me in every way possible. Now, I know the history and truths goes deeper than this story reveals, however, I still found myself there from the very beginning. I appreciate how the book tells the story of Kunta's life in Africa up until manhood, something the movie doesn't share. The narration was awesome! I felt the fear in the mother's voice, the pain in the men and women who suffered the treachours reality of being captured, treated like animals, and raped over and over again. I was there in the fields, the shacks, the celebrations. It amazed me how through it all the men and women continued to smile and thank God for life. Sometimes in life we need a reality check and this story definitely does the job. We cannot run from our history nor be ashamed or embarrassed. Instead, we need to embrace our history, love our culture and where we come from, and establish the confidence to want to seek more.
I listened to this book 4 years ago while I was planting my garden. Every time I'm in the garden, I think about this book. When I'm hot and tired and decide I'll go inside, shower, and drink a beer, I think about how the slaves couldn't do that.
One of the things that really struck me about this book was that when someone was sold, he/she was "sold" out of the story and never heard from again.
I'm a Southerner and a Christian. I do wish my area of the country would quit being so behind the rest of the country and trying to hide it behind their religion.
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.
A well read story
The middle passage,incredible the will to survive.
I would not change a thing!
Audiobooks are BOOKS.! I hate reviews that complain about the narrator for not being an actor. Use your mind the same as when you read.
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.
Sorrow, Pain, Pride
When Kizzy get sold
When Kunte ties to escape and get caught and the white boy chop his foot off.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.