Reviews for Roots : The Saga of an American Family

AudioFile Reviews 2007 October/November
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 (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine

Library Journal Reviews 2014 August #1

Beginning with the idea that "the black story is the American story," Roots illustrates the brutal horror of slavery through Haley's discovery and interpretation of family history. Masterfully narrated by Avery Brooks.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 August #4

It's hard to believe that it has been 30 years since Alex Haley's groundbreaking historical novel (based on his own family's history) was first published and became a worldwide phenomenon. Millions have read the story of the young African boy named Kunte Kinte, who in the late 1700s was kidnapped from his homeland and brought to the United States as a slave. Haley follows Kunte Kinte's family line over the next seven generations, creating a moving historical novel spanning 200 years. 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. Simultaneous release with the Vanguard Press paperback reissue. (June)

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