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The Standing Rabbit

Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

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Roots:  The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley is a 688-page hardcover published in 1976 by Doubleday & Company, Inc., New York.  The dust jacket has shelf wear and surface rubbing.  Inside, spine is slightly bumped.  Otherwise, the book is in very good original condition.

Book Summary

When he was a boy in Henning, Tennessee, Alex Haley's grandmother used to tell him stories about their family--stories that went back to their grandparents, down through the generations all the way to a man called "the African."  She said he has lived across the ocean near what he called the "Kamby Bolongo" and had been out in the forest one day chopping wood to make a drum when he was set upon by four men, beaten, chained and dragged about a slave ship bound for Colonial America.

Still vividly remembering the stories after he grew up and became a writer, Haley began to search for documentation that might authenticate the narrative.  It took ten years and a half a million miles of travel across three continents to find it, but finally, in an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered not only the name of "the African"--Kunta Kinte--but the precise location of Juffure, the very village in The Gambia, West Africa, from which he was abducted in 1767 at the age of sixteen and taken on the Lord Ligonier to Maryland and sold to a Virginia planter. 

Haley has talked in Juffure with his own African sixth cousins.  On September 29, 1967, he stood on the dock in Annapolis where his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was taken ashore on September 29, 1767.  Now he has written the monumental two-century drama of Kunta Kinte and the six generations who came after him--slaves and freedmen, farmers and blacksmiths, lumber mill workers and Pullman porters, lawyers and architects--and one author. 

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