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Roots
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The radical, bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning account of Alex Haley's own twelve-year search for his family's origins - a powerful memoir, a history of slavery and a landmark in African-American literature

About the Author

Alex Haley taught himself to write during a twenty-year stint in the US Coast Guard. He became its first Chief Journalist, a position he held until he retired in 1959 to become a magazine writer and interviewer. His first book was The Autobiography of Malcolm X, after which he spent twelve years researching and writing Roots, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

Alex Haley died in Seattle, Washington in 1992.

Reviews

When Roots was published in the mid-1970s, America was still in a period of introspection caused by all things Watergate and the bicentennial celebration. Haley's self-described "novelized amalgam" chronicled seven generations of his family, from West Africa to the United States and back. Roots-both the book and the groundbreaking TV miniseries that followed-became a cultural phenomenon. To commemorate the 30th anniversary, both the out-of-print book and unavailable video have been rereleased. Ironically, Haley's work, which had its genesis in stories deeply rooted and handed down through the African and African American oral tradition, has never been available on audio-until now. After the author's acknowledgments, the audiobook begins with "Haley's Comet," an introduction written and read by Georgetown University professor and cultural critic Michael Eric Dyson, who was a 17-year-old student at the height of Roots' popularity. It is a cursory essay that adds little to the presentation. Additionally, one might have expected the audiobook to be a multicast undertaking; however, actor Avery Brooks has the monumental task of narrating the entire project. His powerful baritone voice is-as necessary-forceful, evocative, scholarly, and descriptive. While he doesn't attempt to give each secondary character a distinctive voice, he infuses his reading with inflections that define their personalities. Recommended for all libraries. [Though listed as nonfiction on the cover, Roots is generally considered historical fiction.-Ed.]-Gwendolyn Osborne, Evanston, IL Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

It's hard to believe that it has been 30 years since Alex Haley's groundbreaking historical novel (based on his own family's history) was first published and became a worldwide phenomenon. Millions have read the story of the young African boy named Kunte Kinte, who in the late 1700s was kidnapped from his homeland and brought to the United States as a slave. Haley follows Kunte Kinte's family line over the next seven generations, creating a moving historical novel spanning 200 years. Avery Brooks proves to be the perfect choice to bring Haley's devastatingly powerful piece of American literature to audio. Brooks's rich, deep baritone brings a deliberate, dignified, at times almost reverential interpretation to his reading, but never so reserved as to forget that at its heart this is a story about people and family. His multiple characterizations manage, with a smooth and accomplished ease, to capture the true essence of each individual in the book. Michael Eric Dyson offers an informative introduction to Haley's book, but it is Brooks's performance that brings the author's words and history to life. Simultaneous release with the Vanguard Press paperback reissue. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Haley succeeds beautifully where many have failed... The book is an act of love, and it is this which makes it haunting" -- James Baldwin * New York Times *
"A gripping mixture of urban confessional and political manifesto, it not only inspired a generation of black activists, but drove home the bitter realities of racism to a mainstream white liberal audience" * Observer *
"Groundbreaking" * Associated Press *
"A Pulitzer Prize-winning story about the family ancestry of author Alex Haley... [and] a symbolic chronicle of the odyssey of African Americans from the continent of Africa to a land not of their choosing" * Washington Post *

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