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Roots by Alex Haley

Roots By Alex Haley

Roots is the story of one family beginning with a birth in 1750 in an African village and ending in an Arkansas funeral of a professor seven generations later.

The author claims it is a historical work but there have been counter claims and allegations against that. But even seeing it just as a work of fiction it is a great story to read, dwell on and go back to. Whether historically accurate or not, Roots portrays in graphic detail the evil of slave trade and journey to freedom.

People caught and sold like cattle and treated worse than them. Yet through it all the survival and fight for identity and respect characterises the life of Kunta Kinte the chief protagonist who is caught, transported and sold from Africa to America. It also captures vividly the fears and aspirations of families and individuals during big historical events.

It is a profound book that ends with a moving line ‘hope that this story of our people can help alleviate the legacies of the fact that preponderantly the histories have been written by winners.’ History or not, such stories of struggle and search for identity keep us from falling into the ‘I, me and today, now is all that matters’ syndrome. We have bequeathed much from the past and are responsible to leave a legacy for our future generations.

We are part of the larger canvas and this book gives us that glimpse and the encouragement to not cut off our roots but to go in search of them. The book is definitely no light reading that you can skim through. It is a slow gratifying read for anyone who loves a good book and a powerful story.

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