Roots – Alex Haley

ROOTSCoverSome people might question my championing this book because despite its having won a Pulitzer Prize, the author was successfully sued for plagiarism following publication, and there are documented problems with the accuracy of the genealogical research.  However, there is no doubt the book is also a groundbreaking, multi-generational historic epic.  The author, an African-American, traces his family roots back, beginning with Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African captured as a teenager and sold into slavery in America, and follows the line through successive generations.  Whatever else may be said, the book caused a cultural sensation and stimulated great interest in genealogy in all Americans.  It also fostered a greater appreciation for African-American history.  For that, and because, hey, it was just a great read, it merits a place on my own particular list of favorites.

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3 thoughts on “Roots – Alex Haley

  1. I hadn’t heard of the controversy surrounding this book, that’s sad since you say it’s good. I’ve always been curious about my ancestry, but what I know is limited to what grandma could remember.

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    1. There’s a lot you can do on-line these days. You have to pay for Ancestry.com but it’s usually free through your local library. I was able to trace my dad’s family way back. It was really cool. Couldn’t do the same with my mom because she was from Vienna, Austria and I don’t speak German well enough to even attempt it. But if you have a little information, there’s a lot you can do with your computer just through census records, marriage, birth and death certificates, ship logs, etc., etc., etc.

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