Roots (Abridged): The Saga of an American Family Audiobook, by Alex Haley Play Audiobook Sample

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Roots (Abridged): The Saga of an American Family Audiobook, by Alex Haley Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: Alex Haley Narrator: Avery Brooks Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Audio Length: Release Date: February 2014 Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781483002705

Publisher Description

It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley’s own family tree.

When Alex was a boy growing up in Tennessee, his grandmother used to tell him stories about their family, stories that went way back to a man she called the African who was taken aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial America.

As an adult, Alex spent twelve years searching for documentation that might authenticate what his grandmother had told him. In an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered the name of the African—Kunta Kinte—as well as the exact location of the village in West Africa from where he was abducted in 1767.

Roots is based on the facts of his ancestry, and the six generations of people—slaves and freed men, farmers and lawyers, an architect, a teacher, and one acclaimed author—descended from Kunta Kinte.

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  • “This book is an act of love, and it is this which makes it haunting.”

    - New York Times
  • “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
  • “Groundbreaking.”

    - Associated Press
  • “A landmark book.”

    - Philadelphia Tribune
  • This is the thirtieth anniversary of this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Presenting the life of the captured and enslaved African Kunte Kinte and his American descendants as representative ancestors for contemporary African-Americans, Haley initiated a dialogue on race in America not experienced since the writing of UNCLE TOM’S CABIN. Those audiophiles who have heard Avery Brooks speak extemporaneously are aware of his idiosyncratic speech pattern. Being the consummate actor, Brooks has immersed himself into the role of narrator. In fact, it is difficult to describe what Avery Brooks does in this audiobook. He neither narrates nor performs, rather, he conjures. He brings the plethora of characters to life as memory, as history, as the pawns of diaspora. His narration begins in reverential tones as an homage to a literary masterwork, yet he ends it as a roar against racism. P.R. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, AudioFile Best Audiobook of 2007

    - AudioFile
  • "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.”

    - Publishers Weekly (starred review)


  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize Special Award
  • Awarded a National Book Award Special Citation of Merit
  • A #1 New York Times bestseller
  • A BookRiot Pick of Must-Read Books about Racism
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2007 AudioFile Best Audiobooks of the Year Selection
  • An Essence Magazine Pick of Best Black Books of the Last 50 Years

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About the Author

Alex Haley (1921–1992) is the author of Roots, one of the most celebrated novels of the 1970s and a #1 New York Times bestseller. He had spent twenty years in the Coast Guard and worked for a range of magazines before becoming a ghostwriter for his first major book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. He then spent years tracing his own family history and decided it went back to a single African man, Kunta Kinte, who was captured in Gambia and taken to the United States as a slave. That research led to his book Roots: The Saga of an American Family, published in 1976 to wide acclaim and the basis for a television series with a record 130 million viewers. He is credited with inspiring interest in genealogy among African Americans. He received the 1977 Spingarn Medal from the NAACP for his exhaustive research and literary skill combined in Roots. In 2002 the Republic of Korea (South Korea) posthumously awarded Haley its Korean War Service Medal.

About the Narrator

Avery Brooks is an accomplished actor, director, musician, and teacher. He is well-known to global audiences for his starring role as Captain Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also costarred for three seasons as Hawk in Spenser: for Hire. His film credits include American History X, Fifteen Minutes, and The Big Hit, and his stage performances include the title roles in King Lear, Othello, and Phillip Hayes Dean’s Paul Robeson. He is a tenured professor of theater at Rutgers University.