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4.00001711127462 out of 54.00001711127462 out of 54.00001711127462 out of 54.00001711127462 out of 54.00001711127462 out of 5 4.00 (58,441 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alex Haley Narrator: Avery Brooks Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2013 ISBN: 9781482962055
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"Roots: The Saga of an American Family" is a story that many of us know well. Even if you've read the book or watched the late 70's TV miniseries, listening to the audiobook adaptation narrated by the acclaimed actor Avery Brooks will give you a new appreciation for this fascinating and tragic historical account.

This audiobook has served as an important part of African American history and culture for years. It chronicles the findings of the author upon learning about his roots, which brought him back to Africa, and began with the birth of a baby. Alex remembers when he was a young child and sitting with his grandmother, who told him stories about his family tree; stories that reached back many generations to a time of slavery.

Alex's grandmother referred to the main character in her stories as "The African". It would take Alex doing further research into his family's history to uncover the real name of "The African", which he found out was Kunta Kinte.

Roots: The Saga of an American Family will bring you back to the birth of Kunta Kinte, taking you through the day he was brought to Colonial America on a slave ship. You'll revisit his heartaches and those of his soon-to-be family members and they live their lives as slaves in a new world that's so unfamiliar and so cruel. This audiobook will give you a new respect for African American history, as well as a newfound appreciation for the trials and tribulations they faced during a very dark time in our nation's history.

Alex Haley was an accomplished writer and worked for many publications, including The Reader's Digest. He had the great privilege of interviewing some of the most influential people in our country. His interview with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is said to be the most lengthy interview King ever allowed with anyone. Alex co-wrote The Autobiography of Malcolm X and was a voice against racism until his death in 1992.

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 freemen, farmers and lawyers, an architect, a teacher—and one acclaimed author—who descended from Kunta Kinte.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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

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

    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 (London)

  • “Groundbreaking.”

    Associated Press

  • “Brooks’ 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.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “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.”

    AudioFile

  • “[Brooks’] powerful baritone voice is…evocative, scholarly, and descriptive.

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Awarded a National Book Award Special Citation of Merit
  • Winner of the 2007 AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year
  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize Special Award
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2008 Audie Award for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex Ingles | 2/15/2014

    " Alex Haley did an incredible job researching his family's lineage which in the book begins in Africa over 250 years ago. He does a fine job writing about each generation's struggle from Kunta Kinte's horrific capture and voyage to America only to have himself be enslaved for the rest of his life, along with his future generations not knowing what lay ahead for themselves. Freedom was always on the back of his family's minds but not knowing when, if ever it would come about, each generation did the best they could under the circumstances. Towards the end of the book, you finally feel the sense that this family finally "made" it, deservedly so. It's a great book in a sense that the author acknowledges that the family that he wrote about was his and that his greatest achievement was him being an author that could take the time and diligence to write this important book to understand and know where he and his family came from. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah | 2/15/2014

    " This was a great book and really well researched. My favorite part was the beginning part about Kunta. I found the information about African history to be absorbing. It was very easy to get through even though it was 700ish pages. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 2/14/2014

    " Saw the movie in my younger days - thought it was about time to read the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karam | 2/7/2014

    " Roots is a book that everyone should read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet Wilcox | 1/23/2014

    " One of a handful of books I've read more than once. A great turning of the hearts to their fathers book--a process that everyone should go through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 1/22/2014

    " While I think this ought to be read by all Americans because of it's historical value, it isn't a great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela Sikorski | 1/15/2014

    " This book keeps you turning the pages. I loved the.book and the saga. Parts of the end were a little slow but this should be read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve Shilstone | 1/15/2014

    " Epic of the first order. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kindell | 1/14/2014

    " really made me appreciate black history in america "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stacey | 1/5/2014

    " Great saga. Loved every minute of it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kat | 1/1/2014

    " Amazing story, and a much easier read than I expect. Alex Haley is a talented storyteller, with an amazing family history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob Hermanowski | 12/23/2013

    " A classic, epic story. Read it in junior high - should be required reading for everyone at that age. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jayesh Shah | 12/21/2013

    " Heart-breaking saga of an African boy kidnapped into slavery. Alex Haley has done a marvelous job of finding his roots. A must-read for every person. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sukanya Viswanathan | 11/18/2013

    " Moving, riveting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mimi Katz | 10/10/2013

    " I never read this when it was so popular, but felt a real need to read it after I became immersed in tracing my own roots "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heidi | 6/17/2013

    " When I was a kid, one of the books that led me to the study of history . . . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Randall Decker | 2/14/2013

    " I had forgotten what a powerful book this is. Read it as a teenager, but now as an adult it was a sobering powerful read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruth | 1/8/2013

    " This was a great book - one of those that you will remember bits of it and characters for a long time afterward. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat | 12/27/2012

    " Thoroughly enjoyed this but at the same time the cruelty inflicted on people was hard to take. Well written and would recommend it to others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 10/28/2012

    " I understand now that it's not supposed to be what it purports to be but I loved it when I was twleve "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesley Scott | 10/15/2012

    " I am surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It took me a little while to get into it but I am so glad I persevered. Wonderful story telling, a truly amazing journey. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 RK Byers | 8/22/2012

    " great. the book, not that television horseshit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Isabela | 8/15/2012

    " Good book, I read it when I was very young...many years ago, so I do not remember much but I remember that time I was impressed. I gave it only 3 stars because I do not remember much but I guess it deserves more than 3 stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Victoria | 6/25/2012

    " Great reading for summer holiday ... plenty of meat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsey Doolan | 1/5/2012

    " I felt robbed when I found out this story is probably mostly fiction, but it was still very emotionally compelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eliz Palma | 12/2/2011

    " Quite possibly my favorite book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonathan Riley | 10/29/2011

    " every black person should have this book on their page. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annette | 6/23/2011

    " Amazing! Of course, huge blockbuster epic novel of a captured African turned into a slave in the South, and his offspring and following generations.

    Highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shannon | 6/11/2011

    " I just finished the audio version of Roots. So good! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martha | 6/6/2011

    " Saw the mini series 30 yrs ago. So glad I read the book. It was one of the best books I've ever read. Took me through a roller coaster of emotions. Made me cry, laugh. Made me angry and sometimes happy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 6/5/2011

    " So. Long. I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it hadn't taken me 2 months to read it. I was educational and eye-opening. It was fairly entertaining, but not necessarily a page-turner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allen | 6/5/2011

    " Somehow I made it through high school without reading this. An awesome book that brought home the realities of slavery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 6/5/2011

    " As a 40th birthday present to my friend, I offered to read a book of her choice with her. This was a fun way to read something I would have otherwise not chosen for myself. Happy Birthday Allison! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ibtisam | 5/29/2011

    " painfully beautiful story..am sorry that i havent read it a long time.. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 5/27/2011

    " One of the best books I have read in a long time. A fantasticly sorrowful story. I really felt like the Alex Haley put me into the time setting of the story. It gave me such a great perspective of life for this time... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 5/23/2011

    " Excellent. I never realized it was nonfiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 5/22/2011

    " Wow, "The Autobiograhpy of Malcolm X" is one of the best books I have read and "Roots" is in the same caliber. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mel | 5/20/2011

    " I liked this book, but sadly never had the chance to get my hands on another copy and finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Malinalda | 5/18/2011

    " need i say anything???!! that book should be bronzed! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Randall | 5/18/2011

    " I had forgotten what a powerful book this is. Read it as a teenager, but now as an adult it was a sobering powerful read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessa | 5/17/2011

    " If I read this in the 70's when it came out I might give it a 5. It felt dated, but I was nonetheless happy to read for its place in history. "

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About the Author
Author Alex Haley

Alex Haley (1921–1992) is the author of Roots, one of the most celebrated novels of the 1970s. He spent twenty years in the Coast Guard until beginning his writing career working for a range of magazines before becoming a ghostwriter for his first major book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Haley 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 Haley’s epic book Roots, published in 1976 to wide acclaim. Haley is credited with inspiring interest in genealogy among African Americans. 

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.