When he was a boy in Henning, Tennessee, Alex Haley's grandmother used to tell him stories about their family—stories that went back to her grandparents, and their grandparents, down through the generations all the way to a man she called "the African." She said he had lived across the ocean near what he called the "Kamby Bolongo" and had been out in the forest one day chopping wood to make a drum when he was set upon by four men, beaten, chained and dragged aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial America.
Still vividly remembering the stories after he grew up and became a writer, Haley began to search for documentation that might authenticate the narrative. It took ten years and a half a million miles of travel across three continents to find it, but finally, in an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered not only the name of "the African"—Kunta Kinte—but the precise location of Juffure, the very village in The Gambia, West Africa, from which he was abducted in 1767 at the age of sixteen and taken on the Lord Ligonier to Maryland and sold to a Virginia planter.
Haley has talked in Juffure with his own African sixth cousins. On September 29, 1967, he stood on the dock in Annapolis where his great-great-great-great-grandfather was taken ashore on September 29, 1767. Now he has written the monumental two-century drama of Kunta Kinte and the six generations who came after him—slaves and freedmen, farmers and blacksmiths, lumber mill workers and Pullman porters, lawyers and architects—and one author.
But Haley has done more than recapture the history of his own family. As the first black American writer to trace his origins back to their roots, he has told the story of 25,000,000 Americans of African descent. He has rediscovered for an entire people a rich cultural heritage that slavery took away from them, along with their names and their identities. But Roots speaks, finally, not just to blacks, or to whites, but to all people and all races everywhere, for the story it tells is one of the most eloquent testimonials ever written to the indomitability of the human spirit.
Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was an American writer. He is best known as the author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family, and of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the latter of which he wrote in collaboration with Malcolm X.
I read this book long, long ago: came across it while going through a book list here on Goodreads, and suddenly felt the urge to post a review.
Dear Kunta Kinte,
We are separated by time, space and culture. Throughout your largely tragic life, you would never have imagined that your story would ever be written, let alone read by a bookish teenager in far-away India, for whom slavery till that day was only a fact learned from school textbooks, mucked up to pass hated history exams. However, Mr. Kinte, you would be pleased to know that reading your story, penned by your descendant Mr. Alex Haley, changed his whole outlook. He suffered with you, Mr.Kinte, as you lay chained up in the dark and dank hold of the slaving vessel: he felt the searing pain as your foot was cut off as punishment for trying to run away: he choked back the bitter disappointment, along with you, when your master told you that the money you had saved up was not enough to buy you freedom (namely, that you were too poor to pay for what you were worth!)and he suffered the agony of separation with you as your daughter was sold off. And that teenager hung his head in shame as he thought of similar atrocities perperated by his forefathers in the name of caste.
Mr.Kinte, that day the boy took a vow never ever to insult the dignity of another human being; also not forget these crimes against humanity, lest they be repeated.
Mr.Kinte, I am that boy. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lessons your story taught me.
Roots: The Saga of an American Family = Roots, Alex Haley
Roots: The Saga of an American Family is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in 1976. Roots tells the story of Kunta Kinte—a young man taken from the Gambia when he was seventeen and sold as a slave—and seven generations of his descendants in the United States.
Kunta, a Mandinka living by the River Gambia, has a difficult but free childhood in his village, Juffure. His village subsists on farming, and sometimes they lack enough food, as the climate is harsh.
Kunta is surrounded by love and traditions. Ominously, the village had heard of the recent arrival of toubob, men with white skins who smell like wet chickens. Kunta is excited to see the world. At one point, Kunta sees men in hoods taking away some of the children.
This confuses Kunta, but is eager to learn his father, Omoro, will take him outside Juffure. Omoro and Kunta set off, learning much more about their surroundings. When they return, Kunta brags to all his friends about the journey, but does not pay attention to his family's goats, which fall prey to a panther.
Later on, Kunta is taken off from manhood training, with other children of his kafo (division or grade). Kunta learns even more about the Gambia, but fears the slave trade, which he learns is closer to home than he thinks.
Kunta passes his training, and learns more about Juffure's court system. One day, he witnesses the case of a young girl, who was kidnapped by the toubob, and came back pregnant. She gives birth to a mixed-raced child, and the case is unresolved.
One morning when Kunta is cutting wood to make a drum, he is ambushed by slatees, black slave traders, and is knocked unconscious. He awakens in the brig of a ship, naked and chained. After a nightmarish journey across the Atlantic on board the British slave ship Lord Ligonier, he is landed in Annapolis in the British colony of Maryland.
John Waller of Spotsylvania County, Virginia purchases Kunta at an auction and gives him the name Toby. However, Kunta is headstrong and tries to run away four times. When he is captured for the last time, slave hunters cut off part of his right foot to cripple him.
Kunta is then bought by his master's brother, Dr. William Waller. He becomes a gardener and eventually his master's buggy driver. Kunta also befriends a musician slave named Fiddler. In the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War, Kunta marries Bell, Waller's cook, and together they have a daughter, Kizzy.
Kizzy's childhood as a slave is as happy as her parents can make it. She is close friends with John Waller's daughter "Missy" Anne, and she rarely experiences cruelty. Her life changes when she forges a traveling pass for her beau Noah, a field hand.
When he is caught and confesses, she is sold away from her family at the age of sixteen. Kizzy is bought by Tom Lea, a farmer and chicken fighter who rose from poor beginnings. He rapes and impregnates her, and she gives birth to George, who later becomes known as "Chicken George" when he becomes his father's cockfighting trainer.
Chicken George is a philanderer known for expensive taste and alcohol, as much as for his iconic bowler hat and green scarf. He marries Matilda and they have six sons and two daughters, including Tom, who becomes a very good blacksmith. Tom marries Irene, a woman originally owned by the Holt family. ...
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نوزدهم ماه فوریه سال 1979میلادی
عنوان: ریشه ها؛ نویسنده: الکس هیلی؛ مترجم: علیرضا فرهمند؛ تهران، خوارزمی، 1357؛ در 695ص؛ چاپ دوم تهران، امیرکبیر، 1361؛ چاپ سوم سال1363؛ چهارم 1367؛ پنجم 1369؛ ششم 1382؛ هفتم 1387؛ هشتم 1388؛ نهم و دهم 1392؛ یازدهم 1393؛ شابک 9789643030506؛ چاپ دوازدهم 1394؛ در 775ص؛ شابک 9789640018224؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا سده 20م
عنوان: ریشه ها؛ نویسنده: الکس هیلی؛ مترجم: محمدتقی کرباسی؛ حسن مروی؛ تهران، جاویدان، 1366؛ در 416ص؛ چاپ ششم 1387؛ شابک9786005381061؛
داستان، وضعیت نابسامان «آمریکائیان» «آفریقایی» تبار، و بیان رنجها، و کاستیهای زندگی ایشان، در دوران برده داری، و پس از آن است؛ در نگاهی ژرفتر، نویسنده، به شناساندن مفاهیم «تبعیض نژادی»، «بردگی»، «بیگاری و زیر تملک دیگران بودن»، میپردازند، و آن را محکوم میکنند؛ کتاب نیمه مستندی است، که به شکل رمان نگاشته شده، و بیانی واقعگرایانه دارد، داستان با زایش قهرمان اصلی «کونتا کینته»، در دهکده ای مسلمان، و در باختر «قاره ی آفریقا» آغاز میشود؛ او با فرهنگ سنتی رشد میکند، و زندگی آرام و بی دغدغه ای را به همراه خانواده، و قبیله ی خویش میگذراند؛ اما تراژدی از جایی آغاز میشود، که بازرگانان برده، او را غافلگیر کرده، و میربایند.؛
او به همراه عده ای دیگر، در بدترین وضع، با کشتیهای تجارت برده، به «آمریکا» برده میشود، و به فروش میرسد؛ «کونتا کینته» در «آمریکا»، متحمل رنجهای بسیاری میشود.؛ او که پیشتر آزاد و شرافتمندانه زندگی کرده، باید صبح تا شام، عرق بریزد؛ و کار کند، و ناظر تصاحب دسترنجش، به دست دیگران باشد؛ در آغاز، زبان انگلیسی را نمیفهمد و نمیداند، و به سایر بردگان سیاه، با نظر تحقیر مینگرد، و از اینروی همه از او کناره میگیرند.؛
او که مسلمانی باورمند است، باور دارد، که بردگان از اصل و ریشه ی خویش، فاصله گرفته، و سرسپرده ی سفیدپوستان شده اند، اما به تدریج زبان انگلیسی را، میآموزد، و درمییابد، که اینان هرگز در «آفریقا» نبوده اند،؛ و برده، زاده شده اند؛ همچنین میفهمد، که آن بردگان، هرگزی از وضع خود راضی نبوده و نیستند، و گاه به فرار، یا حتی به شورش میاندیشند، بدین ترتیب، با آنان احساس همدردی میکند؛ اما هرگزی از باورهای خود برنمیگردد، و پیوسته تلاش میکند، «آفریقایی» تباران را، با میراث خویش آشنا سازد.؛ او سرانجام ازدواج میکند، صاحب فرزندی میشود، و داستان همینگونه ادامه مییابد، تا به خود نویسنده میرسد.؛
این داستان از دیدگاه تاریخی نیز، بیانگر رویدادهای «جنگهای استقلال»، و تأسیس «ایالات متحده آمریکا»، «شورشهای بردگان»، «جنگ داخلی»، و «لغو برده داری» نیز هست.؛ «آلکس هیلی» در بخشهای پایانی کتاب، به شرح حال کوتاهی از خویشتن میپردازد، از چگونگی دستیابی اش به شرح حال قهرمانان داستان، سخن میگوید، و از انگیزه هایش برای نوشتن زندگینامه ی خانواده و نیاکانش پرده برمیدارد
تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 05/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
This book was astonishing to me - particularly the narrative of Kunta Kinte's life. This is why I read! What an amazing description of African culture and the rights of manhood. Then, the horrible violation of slavery and the cross-cultural experience of an African joining slaves who were predominately born in the United States. Sounds silly, but though I've read many books on slavery, none have dealt with the differences among slaves themselves and how growing up as a slave shaped how African Americans thought and interacted both with whites and with newly arrived Africans. I could understand why Alex Haley is the best-selling African-American author to date.
I wanted to give this book a 5. But, two things prevented me from giving it the highest rating.
First, when the book moves away from Kunte Kinte into successive generations, while it has engaging moments, something of the brilliance was lost. This was strange to me. After reading the book, I did some research on Alex Haley and Roots, and discovered that there were allegations that Haley plagiarized from Harold Courlander's "The African", published nine years before Roots (It seems the passages in question were concentrated in the life of Kunta Kinte); after Courlander sued Haley an out of court monetary settlement from Haley to Courlander was made, though Haley seems to have maintained innocence in the matter. Could it be that the brilliance of the book came from Courlander's work? I don't know and have requested "The African" from inter-library loan in order to investigate further. Margaret Walker Alexander filed a similar suit, but hers was dismissed. The legal actions of both Courlander and Walker were resolved in 1978. This was two years after the publication of Roots in 1976, and one year after a national television miniseries boosted sales and interest in 1977. I will also hunt down Walker's book.
Secondly, the genealogical work behind the book has come into question. This wouldn't be a problem, except that the final chapters present the genealogy as factually verified by the author in an attempt to place the work firmly in the historical fiction genre. In addition, these final chapters uphold Haley's lineage as a kind of beacon for all of African descent who "don't know who they are." This could have been done in the realm of fiction, without the assertion of fact, but it wasn't.
I was very disappointed by these revelations. I felt mislead, even betrayed, by Alex Haley. However, I must concede that even with these faults, the book is a wonderful read that opened up new doors of thought to me and shaped my thinking in new ways. For that, I am grateful.
As a follow up, I have also confirmed that Haley plagiarized from Margaret Walker's book, Jubilee, an absolutely fabulous book written by the first African American woman to earn a PhD. I would highly recommend this book. In addition, reading both "The African" and "Jubilee" helped me to see a little more of what Haley was getting at with writing Roots.
Now that I understand his perspective better, I can see that Roots definitely had an agenda. Black Power connected with "Africanism" and Islam, which is probably also represented in "The Autobiography of Malcolm X". Note the following when you read it:
1) The extremely compelling portions on Africa have been criticized as current social anthropology as opposed to history.
2) There is an emphasis (lacking in Courlander's "The African") on Islamic belief, as opposed to voodoo being the religious and cultural grounding of the African community.
3) Christianity is covertly proclaimed as the "white man religion", used by slave traders to stomp out cultural identity and practices that might lead blacks to gather up enough confidence to start a successful rebellion.
4) Apparently, the book kicked off a ton of travel to Africa, during which African Americans found they were not embraced as Haley alludes they would be. Also, many believe Haley's documentation of his trip to Africa is entirely false and that the groit he met and all the officials involved were coached and eager to see Haley be successful in generating interest in their country.
5) All of these things would be forgivable IF Haley had merely written a work of fiction. We would suspect authors had their own ideas, agendas and perspectives. But, the intro and those last chapters are horrifically misleading. It's almost like he believed his own press! And the IDEA that he was going for is powerful, that Africans were stripped of their roots by the slave industry and that this has been harmful to them. But this reality only serves to underline the strong motive he had for promoting this perspective (and African Islam/ Black Power as the logical fulfillment/ salvation to such a paradigm).
6) Some of the quotes, references to Haley lead me to believe he wasn't a very nice person... not that anyone wants to say that outright, but it's there. It certainly appears he was looking to a black Muslim identity for wholeness, salvation, and power. Hopefully, he found peace with God and others before he died.
Also, regarding Jubilee specifically, I recognized one paragraph in the first chapter that I'm pretty sure was copied verbatim. The main character, Vyry (and her mother, Sis Hetta whose death opens the book) seem to have 'inspired' Haley's character Kizzy. But, as obvious as that was, perhaps the biggest thing Haley lifted from Jubilee was the idea to write about one's descendants and that such knowledge was important for the coming generations. Walker's dedication communicates this intention with less dramatic flair than Haley's claims about flying the globe, roaming through records, and finding groits who harbor verbal testimony of his ancestors, all while the oldest and last of his relatives is dying.
I would still recommend Roots, but I thought these observations might be helpful in positioning the work within its proper historical context. For more information on my investigations pertaining to Roots, please see the conversation in comments on this review. Although many of those that originally discussed the book with me are no longer on Goodreads, I think you can follow the discussion and track my primary sources if you would like to know more. Enjoy!
Also from Goodreads discussion below this review: Roots: Philip Nobile “The Village Voice” February 23, 1993 After Haley’s death, his private papers were released and reviewed by Philip Nobile, who published a definitive article in 1993. Nobile’s article details specific problems with Haley’s account and includes numerous primary sources. I was able to order this article via the periodicals department at my library. It was photocopied by a library that owned the magazine copy and sent to my library. It cost me $1.
Also from Goodreads discussion below this review: 10 Big Lies about America, Medved, 2008 Big Lie #2: The United States is Uniquely Guilty for the Crime of Slavery, and Based Its Wealth on Stolen African Labor https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
مدت ها بود کتابی نخونده بودم که اینطور من رو تحت تاثیر قرار بده. که باهاش زجر بکشم و گریه کنم و خوشحال بشم و هشتصد صفحه رو با کتاب زندگی کنم
شاید براتون پیش اومده باشه که فکر کنید پدر پدر پدربزرگتون کی بوده و چطور زندگی می کرده. اگر خوش شانس باشید شاید کسی اسمش رو به یاد بیاره یا جایی نوشته شده باشه. خانواده الکس هیلی داستان اجدادشون رو سینه به سینه برای هم گفتند و داستان انقدر زنده موند که به کتاب تبدیل شد. داستان 'کونتا کینته' ی آفریقایی که به بردگی گرفته شد و به آمریکا اومد و یکروز برای دخترش از زندگی گذشته اش تعریف کرد. او هرگز فکر نمی کرد که این داستان برای همه ی بچه های خانواده گفته میشه و در اخر هم کسی مثل من، ۲۱۶ سال پس از تولدش اون رو می خونه
الکس هیلی، شیفته ی این تاریخچه شفاهی میشه و۱۲ سال تحقیق و سفر می کنه تا اون رو به شکل کتاب در بیاره. کتابی که از کونتا و زندگیش در گامبیا شروع میشه و یک قبیله آفریقایی مسلمان در نزدیک به دو قرن پیش رو تصویر می کنه. بعد با درد بردگی و سفر هولناک چهارماهه از افریقا به آمریکا با کونتا همراه میشی و مدت طولانی ای رو در امریکای قرن ۱۸ و ۱۹ همراه با برده های سیاه می گذرونی. خواندن این کتاب مثل این میمونه که به جای اینکه تاریخ رو با یک سری عدد و رقم و اتفاق و جنگ بخونی، درونش زندگی کنی
در این مدت کتاب های زیادی در رابطه با سیاه پوستان آمریکا خوندم و خواهم خوند و می تونم بگم ریشه ها عمیق ترین و تاثیرگذار ترین اون ها بود. با این وجود، اگر تحمل داستان های طولانی و با جزئیات ندارید، یا به تاریخ علاقه ندارید این کتاب برای شما نیست ولی اگر دنبال یک سفر تاریخی طولانی و پر تلاطم، گاهی دردناک و گاهی شیرین در طول دو قرن هستید، 'ریشه ها' همون چیزی هست که احتیاج دارید
I was only 8 when Roots came out and my family being of the average, racist variety in Florida at the time, we did not watch it on TV in 1977. In the meantime, I did a lot of work to unroot that racism I was brought up with and read widely: Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Toni Cade Bambara, Zora Neale Hurston, Malcolm X, Ralph Ellison, etc. but until now, some 43 years later, I read Roots by Alex Haley. It was a moving experience, particularly the middle passage of Kunta Kinta from La Gambia to 'Napolis which I found particularly horrifying. In the coda, Chapter 120, Alex Haley says that he purposefully took a freighter along that same route, sleeping in the hold, nearly naked on a wooden plank. Hardcore. Now, there were several lawsuits, one of which Haley lost, for plagiarism of parts of Roots. This did bother me a little bit, but it didn't take away from the narrative.
Roots is the story of Alex Haley's family from his ancestor Kunta Kinte who was captured in The Gambia in West Africa and enslaved in Virginia. It is grueling and violent and definitely a critical read for understanding the history of slavery and the horrors of being considered less than human. The first third of the book is a gorgeous description of life in Africa for the young Kunta. Then we follow his life in America as a slave followed by that of his daughter Kizzy, her son Chicken George and his son Tom - all ancestors of author Alex Haley. The horrors of slavery are laid out in plain view and anyone that reads this and does not come away with a sick feeling in their soul and a total lack of sympathy for "rebels" and other mythology panderers for the "lost Confederacy" has not really read the book. There was absolutely nothing redeemably about slavery and no moral reason whatsoever to defend its many, many waves of abuse. The Civil War was indeed about slavery at its core regardless of what the racist revisionists wish to say.
I felt that the 1977 Roots was a bit dated watching a bit of it now 43 years later. However, I would highly, highly recommend the 2016 version from the History Channel. It was riveting and beautifully shot. It takes some liberties with the text, but they are interesting diversions and interpretations and do not detract or demean Haley's work. My French-born son who was largely unfamiliar with the history of slavery other than the recent George Floyd outcry was moved deeply by this show which he also admitted was education. His statement "Slavery was really shit, dad" pretty much sums it up.
I remember watching the mini series of this book on TV around the same time we were studying about early American history in school. I finally got my hands on this book a few years back when a friend lent it to me and since she was clearing her bookshelf I was more than happy to keep the copy...I still have it! A gripping and gritting portrayal of the story of a tribal prince, Kunta Kinte, who is snatched from his homeland of Africa and thrown into a nightmare of slavery in America and how not only he, but his subsequent generation of descendants fight against odds to keep their identity as well as the story of Kunta Kinte alive. A must read!!!
Magnificent. The epic chronicle of a family through many generations of cruelty, hardship and suffering. But it's much more than that really; it's the history of slavery in America. What happened to the characters in this book happened to millions of others and it's a story that needed to be told and Alex Haley did a masterful job of telling it. Roots should be required reading in high schools because all of us, regardless of age, race, or gender should understand this history. You can't tell the history of America without telling the history of slavery. We can still feel it's impact on our society still today. 4.5 stars
Knjiga, a potom i serija, koje smo mnogo voleli... Kako bi bilo lepo kad bi se neko setio evergrin naslova i ponovo objavio ovu knjigu... Pre nekoliko godina sam nabavila originalni box set serije pa mogu da uživam u njoj kad god poželim... Makar nešto... :)
*بدلیل پیشگیری از قاطی شدن راست چین و چپ چین از گذاشتن نقطه و ویرگول معذورم*
طلسم شکسته شد و من این کتاب رو تموم کردم برای ریویو نوشتن نسبت به این کتاب باید خیلی وسواس به خرج داد چون کوچک ترین غفلتی باعث میشه در حق کتاب نامردی صورت بگیره
خیلی سربسته و بدون اسپویل اگر بخوام بنویسم این کتاب داستان زندگی هفت نسل از یک خانواده آفریقایی تبار هست که مسیر زندگی این خانواده از خود افریقا آغاز و در امریکا پایان پیدا میکنه با اینکه کتاب حول محور برده داری و فروش برده نوشته شده ولی در کتاب به موضوعاتی همچون جنگ داخلی امریکا و جنگ جهانی اول و حتی جنگ جهانی دوم هم اشاره هایی شده هرچند کم اتفاقی چون مبارزه لینکلن برای پایان دادن به قانون برده داری ذره ذره گُر گرفتن آتیش جنگ داخلی امریکا و شاید ده ها اتفاق مهم دیگه که الان حضور ذهن ندارم
برخلاف اکثر کتاب ها که شروع جذاب و یا پایان خوبی دارند ولی در میانه های داستان ضعیف هستن این کتاب با پیش بردن هر فصل همچنان جذابیت خودش رو به شکلی متفاوت زنده نگه میداره پیش نمیاد که خواننده احساس کسالت و یا یکنواختی کنه کتاب انگار برای هر سلیقه ای چیزی در آستین خودش داره
این ریویو رو بیشتر از این کش نمیدم فقط توصیه میکنم این کتاب رو بخونین برای داشتن درک بهتر نسبت به یکی از سیاه ترین دوران تاریخ بشریت برای درک زورگویی برای درک غم برای درک ناامیدی و از همه مهم تر برای درک آزادی..............................
I opened the cover of this book with eagerness and excitement. In fact, I informed my family I was finally reading Roots and I would be out of commission for the week!
I was then greeted by 192 pages of some of the dullest prose I have ever encountered.
Dull and monotonous writing. Zero character development. The exotic locale of Africa reduced to sand and thorns, with a few cardboard cut-outs of Africans standing around.
Then, on page 192 (out of 900), conflict finally creates the true beginnings of a story. It is here, despite the conflict being the horror of abduction leading into a lifetime of slavery, where I finally realized I needed to let go of my desire to experience any character development and submit instead to Haley's true gifts, which are research and story-telling.
The story, from roughly pages 192 to 853, is often compelling. I have read many works of fiction and some non-fiction from this time period, and this book obviously contributes a completely unique perspective. In particular, I appreciated Haley showing slavery as not only an evil and despicable practice, but an absurd one as well. And, Kunta Kinte's observations, as an educated and Muslim African amongst slaves who had lost their heritage, their religions, and their families were absolutely thought-provoking and often heart-breaking.
Yet, when the finally-interesting story shifts again, to the first-person narrator at the end, I felt it was really the final blow for me. Left in the hands of a more capable writer, the ending, where Haley reveals his process and research, could have been fascinating. It was not, and the final pages, where he discusses the death of his father, made no cogent sense to me and had no connection to the rest of the story.
I applaud the incredible scope of this book and its huge cultural, ancestral, social and spiritual contributions, but I really struggled with the writing. If you happen to be reading this and feel similarly, I would highly recommend both Margaret Walker's Jubilee and Toni Morrison's Beloved as far more literary works which deal with slavery and its lasting impact on fully developed characters.
Phenomenal history of seven generations of a black family, from its roots in The Gambia to late 20th century America.
The description of the savagery of the Middle Passage was the subject of a plagiarism lawsuit, by a historian against the author, but the telling of it is so powerful and sorrowful that it should be part of the education around race we need.
Haley moves us through the generations and it’s painful how the disruptions occur- kidnapping, sales that ripped children from parents, never knowing what happened to those left behind (both family and reader left in the dark).
A fantastic and rich tapestry in the American story.
خطر فاش شدن داستان حکایت عجیبی ایست ، داستان آمریکاییان آفریقایی تبار ماجرایی ایست که چندان به آن پرداخته نشده
حکایت مردمانی ایست که در آفریقا مثلا در کشور گامبیا سرگرم زندگی خود بودن و احتمالا هم از وضع خود راضی بودند . در آن سرزمین پسران به همان روشی زندگی می کردند که پدران و پدربزرگ های آنها در گذشته روزگار خویش می گذراندند . در آن سرزمین هیچ وقت هیچ جیز عوض نمی شد . پسران به همان سنت و روش پدران بزرگ میشدند ، کشاورزی می کردند ، حیوانات را اهلی می کردند و هنگام رسیدن به سن بلوغ ، آموزشهای لازم برای ازدواج و بچه دار شدن را فرا می گرفتند و پا در جای پدران خود می گذاشتند ، در همین حال در اروپا و آمریکا انقلاب صنعتی در حال گذار بود و مزارع بسیار بزرگ در جنوب آمریکا نیاز به نیروی کار داشتندو چه کسانی بهتر از آفریقای های قوی وساده ؟ خلاصه ، قهرمان داستان ما از روستای خود دزدیده می شود وجهت انتقال به آمریکا به کشتی فرستاده می شود ، کتاب به صورت کامل دوران سخت اسارت در کشتی را بیان می کند ، خواندن این سختی ها برای خواننده بسیار سخت و طاقت فرسا ست ، شپش ، بیماری ، انواع شکنجه ، دریای خشمگین تنها بخش کوچکی از بدبختیهایی هستند که سیاهان باید تحمل کنند تا به آمریکا برسند ، قهرمان ما یا کینه کوتا سپس به مزرعه دار بی رحمی فروخته می شود ، او چند بار دست به فرار می زند اما هر بار دستگیر میشود ، عدالت از نوع آمریکایی بسیار آسان است : بخشی از کف پای او را میبرند که دیگر نتواند فرار کند . جوان نگون بخت باید در مزرعه کار کند و فکر آفریقا و خانواده را از سر بیرون کند ، دوستان او دیگر سیاهانی هستند که به طریق های مختلف توسط ارباب استثمار یا به فارسی مورد بهره برداری ( البته بهره برداری جنسی نه ، چون ارباب مخالف قاطی شدن خون سیاهان و سفید پوستان است ) قرار می گیرند . جوان یا کینه کوتا دارد کم کم آمریکایی می شود ،به جای کوس کوس ، ساندویچ گوشت می خورد و می تواند انگلیسی صحبت کند ، در راستای تمدن آمریکایی او ازدواج میکند و بچه دار می شود ، دختر او کم کم بزرگ می شود اما سیاهان هیچ گونه حق مالکیتی ندارند ، حتی بر بچه های خویش . ارباب مالک همه چیز است دختر را زمانی که 15 ساله است به ارباب دیگری می فروشد ( از این جا به بعد شرح داستان کینه کوتا تمام می شود و ما دیگر هیچ اطلاعی از زندگی او نداریم ، قهرمان جدید کتاب این دختر یا کینزی ایست ) . ارباب جدید اعتقادی به خون سیاه و سفید ندارد ، او در پی لذت است و همان شب اول به کینزی – برده جدیدش تجاوز می کند ، این کار را بارها تکرار می کند ، کینزی از ارباب بچه دار می شود ، اسم بچه اوجرج است ، ارباب جدید با این که تجاوز می کند اما زیاد آدم بدی نیست ، او خانواده را زیر بال و پر خود می گیرد و به جرج کودک اجازه می دهد که علاقه ارباب را دنبال کند : خروس بازی . جرج کم کم یک خروس باز حرفه ای می شود و یک رابطه حرفه ای با ارباب که پدرش هم هست ایجاد می کند ، جرج ازدواج می کند ( نسل سوم از خانواده کینه کوتا) و بچه دار می شود ( نسل چهارم ) . جرج دارد پول جمع می کند که خانواده خود را از ارباب بخرد و آزاد شوند اما به همراه ارباب اشتباه مهلکی می کند و در یک شرط بندی هر دو می بازند ، ارباب ورشکسته می شود و جرج بدبخت ! ارباب مجبور میشود جرج و خانواده او را بفروشد ، جرج به انگلستان فرستاده میشود و بخشی از خانواده هم به ارباب جدیدی فروخته و بچه های کوچکتر از والدین خود جدا و به همراه مادربزرگ خود پیش همان ارباب می مانند ( البته این روش هنوز هم در آمریکا رواج دارد – مثلا دولت ترامپ لب مرز بچه های پناهندگان غیر قانونی را از خانواده جدا و به کمپی دیگر می فرستد ) .خانواده نیاز به سرپرست دارد از بین شش فرزند جرج ، تام سرپرست خانواده و رابط با ارباب جدبد می شود ، مطابق معمول تام ازدواج می کند و بچه دار می شود و این داستان تا هفت نسل پس از کینه کوتا ادامه پیدا می کند تا خود آقای آلکس هیلی نویسنده این کتاب متولد می شود ، بزرگ می شود ، از یکی از بستگان ماجرای جد بزرگ خود (کینه کوتا ) را می شنود ، برای جستجوی ریشه های خود به آفریقا می رود ، بالاخره دهکده و قبیله خود را پیدا می کند .
ایده نویسنده کتاب بسیار درخشان است اما نتوانسته ایده ی خود را قوی و اثر گذار اجرا کند ، برای مثال شاید 80% کتاب مربوط به زندگی خود کینه کوتا ( زندگی و مهارت های شکار یا کشاورزی در آفریقای سه قرن پیش ) و نوه او – جرج ( جزییات خروس بازی ، شرط بندی ، مراقبت از خروسها ) باشد و عملا بعد از جرج شخصیت ها بعد چندانی ندارند ، در حقیقت از نسل چهارم به بعد خود نویسنده حوصله اش سر می رود و به شخصیتها و شرایط زندگی آنها نمی پردازد . بیشترین جمله ا ی که در قسمت های کتاب می خوانیم این است که به دنیا آمد ، بزرگ شد ، ازدواج کرد ، بچه دار شد . شخصیت های مقوایی که نویسنده خلق می کند و شخصیت پردازی نشده اند .
اما انتشارات امیر کبیر هم در انتشار این کتاب شاهکار زده ، علاوه بر این که 17 صفحه از کتاب را حذف کرده ( از صفحه 256 تا 273) ، از صفحه 680 تا 700 را هم پس و پیش چاپ کرده تا خواندن کتاب چالشی شود !
I honestly can't believe how much I enjoyed this book. It's been sitting on my shelf for about half a year now and I've been wanting to read it as soon as I got it. I always just started another book though and always said "next time."
I finally picked it up 6 days ago and finished it about 10 minutes ago.
The beginning was wonderful. I was so enthralled with Africa and Kunta Kinte and his family and the whole works. The way they lived, the culture, the traditions, it was like reading of another world (almost literally). How close of a family they were and the way they were raised is so far-fetched of what it's like today. These people were all about respect and their tight clans and villages. They loved all of each other and they worked hard for what they had even if it was hardly anything. They lived without most of the things we feel we NEED today. It honestly didn't seem that bad of a lifestyle.
To be ripped apart from that after barely just being able to 'live' as they call it was heart-breaking. Just to be Kunta with his aspirations and dreams and then to be ripped from it just in a split second by someone with their own ideas and taken away from the only thing he knows. I can't imagine just being taken away from my famly and my COUNTRY to some strange place where they don't even speak a language I know. The story-telling was so descriptive, I cried, cringed and just felt a weight on my heart.
Following Kinte and seeing how brave he was and how determined he was to find a way back home showed how proud he was and how he really thought if he tried he could make it back. I thought he might have tried a bit too much but I think he would've kept going if they hadn't of done what they did. As the years go on he builds a whole new life. Learns a new language, builds a new home and family and basically start over as a whole nother person. Nothing could've been harder. He never let where he came from die though. He made sure his children knew where he came from and so on.
The only thing I wasn't really too happy about was when the story just all of a sudden went to Kizzy. I mean we never heard about Kunta and Bell again. Half the book was about Kunta and then the next chapter that's it. I didn't really like that.
All in all, I loved how the family kept its tradition and promise to make sure they knew about Kunta and where he came from. It was amazing.
I find it odd too because 3 last names in that book are of my ancestral background. Johnson, being my maiden name. Henning being my grandmother's maiden name and Haley being my great-grandmother's maiden name before becoming a Henning. This is all on my father's side, too. I think that's really amazing. I wonder if those in the book were my ancestors. Hmm. Something to look up.
To know a bit of where you come from and who your ancestors are I think is a wonderful thing to know. For Alex Haley to have been able to actually travel to the place where his great-great-great-great-grandfather came from. That's just amazing. Not many ppl can say that and I'm sure it would give you a sense of PRIDE to be able to say "yes, my so and so was this person or that person."
درباره ی بردگی کتاب و فیلم کم نخوندم و کم ندیدم اما چیزی که کتاب ریشه ها رو خاص میکنه، توصیف وضعیت «برده بودن» نیست، وصف مسیر دردناک و تلخ «برده شدن»ه.. 400 صفحه اول کتاب، از زندگی کونتا کینته ی مسلمان آفریقایی در دهکده اش، تا برده شدنش و آورده شدنش به امریکا، بهترین، جذابترین و تأثیرگذارترین بخش ریشه هاس.. الکس هیلی بعد از دوازده سال تحقیق، سفر به آفریقا و پیدا کردن دهکده ای که اجدادش در اون زندگی میکردن، کتابی رو مینویسه که زندگی هفت نسل از خانواده اش رو روایت میکنه، به این امید «که این سرگذشت، سرگذشت مردم ما، از تلخی میراث تاریخهایی که بیشتر به دست فاتحان نگاشته شده، بکاهد.»
I don't know why I've never read this book before now. It's excellent. Yes, as a Midwestern, middle-aged white person, the repeated use of the N-word was jarring, but definitely necessary to the story. It got a point across that I don't think would have been properly conveyed any other way. I'm going to re-watch the miniseries soon. It came out when I was in grade school, so I don't remember it well. But I highly recommend the book.
I loved both the book and movie versions of this powerful, historical saga: I will never forget the indomitable Kunta Kinte. This book changed my very sheltered teenage world view. Decades later, I am now reading Esi Edugyan's Washington Black, and once again I am brought face to face with humanity's truly awful dark side. I have to read these gut-wrenching novels in bits and pieces, because my poor aging heart can no longer take so much horror in one long sitting. With the perspective of time and and my own life experience, and after reading Roots and many other historical novels, I've come to realize this: We humans constantly abuse POWER, whether it comes in the form of money, position or some other sort of bestowed privilege. There have been rebellions throughout history, attempting to redress the imbalance caused by all the abuses of power in this world. I used to read historical novels almost exclusively during my teens and twenties, but as I entered my thirties and forties, I became jaded, and I turned to historical novels less and less. We don't ever seem to learn our lessons, do we? History just keeps repeating itself in a timeless loop: only the costumes, players and settings seem to change. Lately, I've been listening to Simon and Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence, as performed by the group Disturbed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-... "Silence like a cancer grows" - so very true! Our silence - our complacency - allows people like Trump to become our "Neon Gods". Because so many of us are afraid to think for ourselves, we surrender to what is fed to us by the media and other prevailing dogma. We have to examine all the crutches that so many of us need in this life: a religion or philosophy to believe in and blindly follow, stockpiles of money so we can build a false sense of security or create temporary happiness by indulging in luxurious status symbols (phones, cars, "mc-mansions," brand name clothes), and our consumption of food, alcohol and drugs - often to excess. I am just as guilty of all of this. Those of us who love to retreat into the world of books need to support authors like Esi Edugyan, Alex Hailey and countless others who shine the stark light of truth on man's (historical and ongoing) inhumanity to man. Reading helps us to examine diverse thoughts and viewpoints. Hopefully, we can evolve our own notions of what we need to do to co-exist with tolerance and forgiveness. Keep reading... lest we forget!
I am at least a fifth generation genealogist. I was ten when this book was first published and made into a miniseries. But, I was allowed to stay up that entire week of January 23 – January 30, 1977 to watch it in its entirety. I thought the cast did an excellent job. To this day, I still believe that the book was much better than the movie. But, as Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. once pointed out, "Most of us feel it's highly unlikely that Alex actually found the village whence his ancestors sprang. Roots is a work of the imagination rather than strict historical scholarship."
The first time I read Roots was when I was a teenager. I very into slave narratives and stories involving slavery. I was a weird teenager because I was also obsessed with learning about the Holocaust. I had grim interests and nothing has really changed in all these years.
When I read this as a teenager I just blew through it. I think I read it in a little over 2 days and then I immediately went to the library to check out the miniseries and I loved that too(but why was OJ Simpson in Roots???) A couple years later I discovered the miniseries Queen which is about Alex Haleys father's side of the family and it stars Halle Berry. I loved that miniseries even more than Roots and a couple years ago I read the book which is also fantastic.
I never really planned on rereading Roots despite my love of the story because it's a hard read. But then last spring I decided I would do a reread of Roots in June....If you'll remember what last summer was like in the U.S. then you'll know that, that was a terrible idea. So I sat it aside and I would pick it up from time to time and read a couple pages then put it down again. I didn't force myself to read I knew that I would eventually be in the mood for it.
Last week was that time.
Roots is the story of Alex Haley's mother's side of the family that was passed down through the generations in his family. The story begins with the African, a young Mandinka tribesman who was abducted from Africa and sold into slavery in the U.S. He used the stories he had been told and he combined that with any research he could find and he created a story around it.
I know there has been so "controversy" about if Kunta Kinte existed, but that's ridiculous because it doesn't matter. Every Black person in America and the Caribbean who descended from slavery has a Kunta Kinte in their bloodline. Some African was abducted from Africa and forced into slavery and torture and rape followed. We may not know the name of that first slave in our bloodline but they existed.
Alex Haley gave alot of Black people a glimpse at what our ancestors might have experienced. Most Black people who descended from slavery don't have access to our history because white people destroyed it. We were sold and stripped of our names and then we were sold and given new names and then we were sold and given yet another name. We were stripped of our religions and cultures and had to create new ones and then white people took those too.
I dont really care if everything in this book actually happened because that wasn't the point of the story. The point of the story was FAMILY. White people tried their damndest to destroy Black families and they didn't succeed. Black families may not look like the "Traditional Family" but they are families nevertheless.
I'll probably never know who the Kunta Kinte of my family was but I still thank that brave person for creating my family. I can't speak their name but their spirit is with me at all times.
African-American writer Haley based this book on the oral stories of his family history, handed down to him as a child by his grandmother, who was part of a chain of family memory-keepers going back to the 18th century, to (and even before) the arrival of their ancestor Kunta Kinte in this country as a kidnapped slave. As an adult, Haley painstakingly researched the historical written records to confirm and amplify these stories, even traveling to West Africa, where a griot --a keeper of tribal genealogies and lore-- provided information that dovetailed with his family's own accounts. This book, in large measure, is based on that research. For this reason, most libraries (including the one where I work) have followed the Library of Congress in classifying and shelving it as nonfiction history. That's not, however, an accurate label. The author makes liberal use, in the accounts of the earlier generations, of imaginative reconstructions, invented dialogue, and ascriptions to various characters of unattested thoughts and motives. These devices are dropped in the much shorter accounts of the later generations, beginning with his grandparents (he was born in 1921), which read more like, and actually are, conventional nonfiction.) But the earlier generations take up the vast majority of the book; so I've classified it accordingly as historical fiction.
However, that's in no way said in derogation. This is an exceptionally well-researched and historically grounded novel about actual people; the way Haley creatively fleshes out and envisions the narrative with the techniques of fiction is a superlative example of the way historical novelists should ply their craft. All of the major events of the plot are attested real-life events that actually happened, and what's reconstructed is true to life. In writing dialogue, like other Realist writers before him, Haley also reproduces the authentic dialect of Southern black (and white) speech. He does not do this in any way to ridicule or put down the speakers, but to express the truth that black dialect is no disgrace to be ashamed of; it's as legitimate a regional/sub-cultural adaptation of the English language as any that ever developed among regional and sub-cultural groups of white people.
Most of the recounted historical experiences were in, and shaped by, the cultural context of slavery, and later segregation. No punches are pulled in accurately bringing to life the unconscionable way the slaves were exploited, the vile injustices and outrages they had to put up with as a matter of course, the racism and discrimination they suffered from even after slavery's end. The overall effect of this, seen through black eyes, is extremely powerful; and indeed this book, and the TV miniseries adaptation (which actually doesn't follow the book very closely in the later generations) was probably the single major cultural influence, in the later 20th century, that actually made much of the white community think seriously about that aspect of the American black experience. But, to Haley's credit, this isn't a pity-party that invites both blacks and whites to see the former as helpless perpetual victims. His ancestors weren't people who let themselves be defined as victims. The book as a whole is a testament to black courage, self-reliance and self-help, determination to forge a culture and a way of life in spite of hindrances, and to the strength of the black family. (He also doesn't demonize all whites as such.) As a practicing Christian himself, the author is also sympathetic in his treatment of the black church. (Kunta Kinte was a Moslem; but he married a Christian, and she raised their daughter as one.) The subtitle says it all: The Saga of an American Family. This family is as American, as much a part of the American fabric, as any other; they claim that heritage as a right, and they deserve to be recognized and treated as such as much as any other.
Earlier this year, when I made a list of my 100 top favorite books, this one was on it. Personally, I consider it one book that every American, of whatever race, ought to read.
تعجب كونتا كنتي من بعض أفراد قبيلته الذين كانوا عبيداً عندهم مقابل الأكل والشرب أو مقابل حياتهم لكونهم كانوا في الأصل إما أعداء أو سجناء .. واستغرب قبولهم و ارتضاءهم لهذا الوضع، فاستفسر من والده الذي رد عليه بقوله:-
لقد أصبحوا عبيداً عندما لم يكونوا شجعاناً لدرجة يفضلون الموت عن الأسر
هكذا تربى "كونتا كنتي"، أن العبد شخص يدعوا للاحتقار، كيف لا وهو سليل عائلته الذائعة الصيت بتاريخها وثقافتها .. .. ولكن بين ليلة وضحاها يصبح عبداً أيضاًعندما قُبض عليه من قِبل تجار العبيد وعبر البحر من "جامبيا" إلى "فيرجينا" بين أناس يجهل لغتهم ويستنكرهم ويستغرب احتقارهم له بسبب لونه
قاسى كثيراً وقاوم وهرب أكثر من مرة إلى أن قطعوا قدمه، لم يستطع التأقلم أبداً وانعزل عن الناس ولكنه شاء أو أبى شعر بالوحشة، وتذكر قول أبيه "عندما تضم قبضتك لن يستطيع أحد أن يضع شيئاً فيها ولا تستطيع يدك أن تلتقط أي شيء" ولذلك حاول أن يندمج مع محيطه، تزوج، أنجب، وأصبحت ابنته مركز اهتمامه لم يُرد أن تختفي أصولة مع الزمن فعلمها تاريخه وأخذ منها العهد أن تستمر بقصه للأجيال القادمة وهذا ما حدث، استمرت الحكاية تروى لكل فرد جديد يولد عن الإفريقي الذي يسمي الجيتار "كو" والنهر "كومبي بولونجو" وأصر أن اسمه كونتا كنتي
بعد أكثر من 200 عام زار الكاتب مؤلف هذه الرواية "أليكس هايلي" المتحف البريطاني ووجد نفسه ينظر "لحجر رشيد" ذلك الحجر الذي كتب عليه بثلاث لغات بعض الكلمات وبواسطة دراستها اكتشفت سر اللغة الهيروغليفية التي توصف بأنها اللغة التي كتب بها معظم تاريخ البشرية القديم .. .. "كو" و "كومبي بولونجو" لمعت في عقله وأحس أن لها رابط بهذا الحجر، لماذا لا يبحث عن أصل جده الأعظم كونتا كنتي بالبحث عن أصل هذه الكلمات التي لقنتها له جدته للحفاظ على تقليد العائلة بنقلها من جيل لأخر
ومن هنا تبدأ رحلة "أليكس هايلي" بالبحث عن جذوره التي وصل لها بعد مشقة وجهد كبير يدعو للإعجاب تكلم عنه في فصول في نهاية روايته وكانت السبب في منحي الكتاب النجمة الخامسة بدل الأربع نجمات
هذه الرواية أو "الكتاب" كتاب ثري جداً بمحتواه الذي يسرد ملحمة عائلة لنيل حريتها، كتاب يسرد ويتكلم عن الصراعات، والأجناس، والثقافات التي ساهمت في أن تكون أمريكا كما هي الآن، بعد الانتهاء من هذه الرواية بالتأكيد ستكون لدينا فكرة عن المخاض الشديد لولادة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية
ملاحظة:- ترجمة الرواية ليست سيئة ولكن كتاب بهذا المستوى يستحق ترجمة أكثر احترافية
I appreciate the author's research of his own roots and the overall message this book has. The problem I had with it was that the writing style was uninteresting. It wasn't bad but it made the characters too two-dimensional for me to enjoy the story overall. They were all empty and I couldn't cheer for them or feel for them. But I understand why the book is important to some and why it has the position it has, I just didn't notice the literary value it supposedly has. Plus the plagiarism accusations can't be good for an author's reputation and respect.
A powerful story on the impact of slavery on one family, Roots has moments of tenderness and joy as well as terror and heartbreak. Haley is at his strongest when repeatedly demonstrating the horror of suddenly never seeing your loved ones again or ever knowing what happened to them. He balances the episodes of sudden violence and brutality with extended periods of quotidian life and relatively good fortune. His primary characters are vivid and memorable. However, he spends far too long idealizing 18th century rural Africa, goes into excessive detail regarding cockfighting, and intersperses historical context in a clunky fashion.
أعتقد أن عدداً لا بأس به من جيلى - مواليد أوائل الثمانينيات - قد شاهد المسلسل الأجنبى الشهير المأخوذ عن هذه الرواية.و من شاهد المسلسل تعرف من خلاله على فترة من أكثر فترات التاريخ الأمريكى إنحطاطاً...هى الفترة التى اتسمت بتجارة الرقيق المختطف من أفريقيا. بدأت قراءة الرواية ولدى شوقلإستعادة ذكرى هذا المسلسل الذى شاهدته فى طفولتى, و لكنى أُخذت بأسلوب أليكس هيلى المشوق و الجميل فى وصفه....و طوال القراءة كنت أتخيل كم المجهود الذى بذله الكاتب ليصل إلى قصص 6 أجيال سابقة من أسلافه منذ الجد الأفريقى المسلم كونتا كنتى الذى أختطف من وطنه (جامبيا) ليباع فى أمريكاو يظل رغم كل ما تعرض له يحمل قلبه و لغته و عوائده و دينه فى قلبه. الرواية صادرة فى 730 صفحة و لكن الجزء المتعلق بكونتا كنتى وحده يكاد يقارب نصف الكتاب..و كلما تقدم الزمن كلما قلت التفاصيل التى يعرضها الكاتب للجيل ....كم أعجبنى تخيل الكاتب لمشاعر كونتا فى المراحل المختلفة, فى إختطافه, فى شحنه فى سفينة العبيد, فى تعرفه على الجنس الأبيض, فى رؤيته للزنوج المدجنين الذين ولدوا فى أرض (الطوبوب) البيض و لم يعرفوا شيئاً عن أفريقيا و لا يريدون أن يعرفوا. هذه القصة ملحمة إنسانية لصراع داخل أنفس تواقة للحرية....و هو عرض مواز للتاريخ الأمريكى منذ منتصف القرن الثامن عشر و حتى سبعينيات القرن العشرين...حقاً ألكس هيلى كاتب متميز و قد تعرفت عليه أولاً فى كتابته للسيرة الذاتية لمالكوم إكس الذى أصر المترجم على ترجمة إسمه (مالكوم العاشر) و هو الشىء الوحيد الذى (قفلنى)فى الرواية :)
Popsugar Challenge 2021 - A book featuring three generations (grandparent, parent, child)
Oh my, this is something special. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this before.
This is the true story of the author and his journey in tracing back his family history against all odds.
We meet Kunta Kinte in the 17th century somewhere along the Gambia River. He's just a boy at the time, we follow him through his teen years, manhood training, moving into his own hut, we see him grow and mature throughout his rains until the day he steps into the forest to make a drum for his younger brother and is snatched by the toubob slave traders.
From there we leave the idyllic setting of Africa and the horrific journey of Kunta Kinta begins on the big ship to a place called Naplis, sold to a plantation owner and from there we follow the next seven generations of the family line.
Written mainly in a narrative format (although it does turn into the traditional non fiction format towards the end) this account is material to binge. I couldn't put it down and felt every emotion under the son.
It's accounts like this that remind me that these events are such recent history and while there have been great strides, there's a long long way to go.
the tv series was one of the rarest tv series which were imported into china when i was small(fucking early 90's), and i ass-rimmedly loved it. i can now still remember that excrement and vomit filled blackbirder cabin
much more imprinted than the tub YIKES!scene of The Cormorant,,,...///囧
Alex Haley's novel is more than just a piece of award-winning literature, but a glimpse into the soul of America's lifeblood, even though it touches on areas that many would likely wish to see forgotten. In the opening portion of the novel, Haley introduces the reader to the small villages of Gambia, where one Kunta Kinte is born and raised. Kunta explores a life of simplicity but also relative complexity, as he grows up learning the ways of his people, always warned about the dangers of the white man lurking in the shadows. As he develops a better understanding of his culture and the plight of becoming a man, Kunta fosters a strong sense of self. While foraging in the forest one day, he is captured and dragged aboard a slave ship, destined for the American colonies. It is here that Haley takes the story in its heart-wrenching direction, complete with the horrors of slavery and their treatment. As Kunta acclimates himself to life as a slave (as best as one can), he learns that his horrors are only beginning. After trying to escape, he is punished severely and sent to live on another plantation, where he is able to develop more of a sense of self, while still refusing to adopt the 'American' slave mentality. Slowly, he is acclimated into the lifestyle of a slave and is able to advance on the plantation, to the point of marrying and having a child of his own. Young Kizzy learns of her African ancestry from her father, though does not have the same passion, even with his blood coursing through her veins. As Kizzy grows, she learns to love the African side of her heritage, though is also prone to living the life in America. A gamble of her own sees her punished and shipped to a new plantation, where she is never to see her father again. That is soon the least of her worries, as more horrors befall Kizzy and she soon has a son, young George, the third Kinte generation living in slavery. Raising her son as best she can while dealing with a less than pleasant slave owner, Kizzy tries to instil some of the same values she learned from Kunta. As he grows, George, too, develops his place on the plantation and becomes a valuable asset to his master. It is this relationship and the historical background told through the narrative that forges some of the most curious aspects of Haley's story, not to be lost in the transition from Kunta to Kizzy and now to George and the family he raises. The subsequent four generations spin their stories in the latter portion of the book, with each collection of slaves (and eventually freed blacks) holding onto the oral history Kunta Kinte brought with him. Published at a time when America had to come to terms with its past to look ahead into the future, Haley strikes a necessary nerve as he explores a history only mentioned in passing on pages of school history books. A must-read for all readers, no matter their personal interests.
The book's release coincided with America's bicentennial, though Haley refuses to admit there is anything intentional there. The story, no matter when it was told, shaped America and the way slavery was seen, through the eyes of those who lived in chains. While the book served as the foundation to the topic in the late 1970s, it was the creation into a television phenomena that saw many more people learn truths they never wanted to discover. Haley paints a dour view of the slave trade and lifestyle, but does so with supported truths and a vivid narrative that tells a more complete story than many history texts might. Beginning well before any delivery to the shores of America, Haley facilitates a bond with Kunta Kinte before pushing the narrative into the darker and more sinister aspects of race relations and the acceptance of the slave trade and use of slaves on plantations across the colonial region. Using historical happenings as a backdrop, the reader can see the progression of the trade and how there was surely a clash between belief systems of the slaves themselves. Kunta's strong Islamic beliefs do not coincide with the colonialisation of many slaves on the plantations, from their speech to their Christian beliefs and even onto their acceptance of the double standard as it relates to treatment by young whites. While Haley does touch on many of these areas, he does not downplay anything nor does he try to offer a one-sided approach that tries to paint blacks as solely victims. Spanning seven generations, the latter chapters pull Haley into the story's narrative, forcing the reader to realise that this is not solely a piece of fiction. Kunta Kinte was, presumably, the four-time great-grandfather of the author and the stories spun within this book are oral recountings of lives lived. Complete with language and phraseology of the times, the story comes to life on so many levels, leaving the reader onto to choose which character they will affix themselves to through the journey. This is a seminal piece of literature that should not be left to gather dust on the shelf. That it took me so long to find and read it is shameful on my part.
Kudos, Mr. Haley for opening my eyes to something about which I always knew happened, but chose not to explore. You have captivated me (and the world) with this novel and surely helped shape many acquire a better understanding of slavery in the United States.
The teenage self who first read this book would have given it five stars without hesitation. The conception is brilliant. I don't think there's a better way to really absorb history, and really inspire people to dig deeper, than what this purported to do. To really have you come face to face with history by telling the story of one family, especially in fictional narrative form, where people of the past can be brought vividly to mind as people who bled and sweated and struggled. And Alex Haley had claimed not to be just writing a novel, but telling the story of his family--who he claimed he had traced back to its roots in Africa where his ancestor Kunta Kinte, in what is today Gambia, had been kidnapped into slavery and brought to America. There was nothing quite like that when it was published in 1976, and the miniseries based upon it was a landmark in American television.
But since publication, the book has drawn controversy. First, this was marketed--and is still widely regarded--as factual history, even if told in fictional form. But geneologists who retraced Haley's footsteps found that Haley's pre-Civil War genealogy is not, as he had claimed, substantiated by public records. And the book hangs precisely on the pre-Civil war family--838 of Roots' 888 pages dealt with events from Kunta Kinte's birth in Africa in 1750 to the end of the American Civil War in 1865. Just google Roots and "controversy" or "criticism" and you can read the details of the dispute over the book's historicity yourself. The "griot" Haley supposedly found linking him to an African heritage was no griot, and was reportedly pressured and coached into telling Haley what he wanted to hear. And as a Village Voice article by Philip Nobile detailed, Haley's own notes reveal that Kunta Kinte and Roots is largely a work of Haley's imagination.
All right then, what we're dealing with is a novel. Just Haley's attempts to put it over as history admittedly tarnishes the book for me now, but there's another problem. The 30 Anniversary edition I looked through alluded to the other major issue that has come up since publication: plagiarism. As part of a court settlement, Haley admitted to lifting passages from Harold Courlander's The African. The 30 anniversary edition makes it sound like it was only a few paragraphs, but I've read the court papers charged over 80 different passages were involved. And I can't say I buy Haley's explanation that the work of other researchers made it undifferentiated and unsourced among Haley's notes from where he inadvertently copied it. What was material from a novel doing in research notes? There was also a charge that Haley plagiarized Margaret Walker Alexander's novel, Jubilee--but those charges were dismissed by the court as unsubstantiated. On the other hand, one commentator who actually bothered to read Courlander's The African said he found no real similarities in plot or character with Roots. Maybe so, I haven't read The African. So, giving Haley the benefit of the doubt about the plagiarism being substantial, is Roots still worth reading as a novel in the tradition of Michener and Rutherfurd? I think so, but I admit knowing what I do, the book has slipped quite far down in my esteem.