Haley's 'Roots' published in 1976 is one of the best and most vivid books. It is a modern classic which won a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and sold more than a million copies in its first year of publication.
Roots is an account of the life of Kunta Kente, a young African boy, captured and shipped to the US to work as a slave. The book details the start of his life from his birth in 1750 in a village called Juffire in The Gambia, West Africa.
As a young boy Kunta is captured and subsequently transported across the Atlantic to be sold as a slave in the State of Virginia. At first he is bought by a harsh master and thus he runs away four times. With no place to go his is eventually re-caught on each occasion. But eventually he is sold to a new 'master' who is much softer than the first.
Kunta eventually accepts his fate and the book goes on to detail his working life with his new master, his marriage to the housemaid Belle and the birth of their daughter Kizzy.
In some ways the book has a happy ending as Kunte is eventually freed but at the end of the day this book is about slavery, a practice that was inhumane and unforgivable.
'Roots' is a shocking and graphic account of the maltreatment and suffering endured by those taken as slaves. it is appalling to think that so many thousands of innocent people undertook such horrific times, stolen from their homelands in order to ensure that the USA became the richest country in the World.....
Roots is a book that is passionately written as well as being factually correct. Thus the book has definite educational value as well as being a great read. It is based on the real ancestral history traced back seven generations to the Gambia by Alex Haley himself.
The story follows Kunte throughout his entire life and consequently it is LONG and some might see this as a disadvantage! It is a good 800-900 pages, but it is well worth the time. It's totally engaging and impossible to put down once you have really got into it.