Synopsis: This is the epic story following the lineage of Kunta Kinte, who was kidnapped as a teenager from his home in Africa to be a slave in the US. His family is dramatically followed down the line to Alex Haley, the author. In fact, this turned out to be false – the story was plagiarized (including some of the characters) from a lesser known book, and Alex Haley apparently didn’t know much about his African ancestors.
My Thoughts: I can’t say much about my thoughts because I know they are colored too much by my disgust at Haley’s plagiarism. Regardless, he told the story well, and it was heartbreaking and sweet all at once. This was an incredibly character-driven novel, and I was interested especially in the earlier generations, though I felt it started to lag a bit at the end.
This book only gets three stars despite being a good story with fantastic characters because it was plagiarized.
3 thoughts on “Roots, by Alex Haley”
My mom has been recommending I read Three Cups of Tea for ages and I didn’t until after I learned the author had made most of it up. Knowing that, I’m not sure I could read it the same way and I could see feeling that way about plagiarism too!
I read Three Cups of Tea – I vaguely recall even reading a sequel – before it came out that everything was made up. That really has an impact on my ability to enjoy a story.