Roots by Alex Haley

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Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley (Doubleday, March 1976) is a truly powerful book. It follows the life of one man’s descendants, beginning in the mid-1700s, and following through to the author himself. The most amazing thing is that all of it was based on a family story passed down for seven generations and then confirmed by lore passed down for 200 years on a completely separate continent. I got chills when I realized that it was true.

Roots is an epic. It follows the young Kunta Kinte from his birth to early years as a teen in Africa and then as he is kidnapped and sold into slavery. His story makes up the bulk of the novel, detailing how he felt and how slavery affected him and his children. He tells his story to those children, emphasizing in the learned language (English) of his enslavers his heritage from Africa. The second half of the novel follows his child and then that person’s child and so on until the 1970s. I felt like the more distant the generations became from Kunta Kinte himself, the less detail was given about their lives, which seemed appropriate since it was so far removed from the family’s story itself.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who hopes to gain a better understanding of the particular challenges that African Americans have been facing since their predecessors were kidnapped from their homeland hundreds of years ago. So powerful!

Reviewed on September 6, 2020

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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