Friday, July 23, 2010

Roots - Alex Haley - Book Review

Awards: Published in 37 languages and won a special award for the work in 1977 from the Pulitzer board.

Was adopted as a television mini series and had over 130 million viewers then. 

"On September 29,1967, I felt I should be nowhere in the world except standing on a pier at Annapolis- and I was, it was two hundred years to the day after Lord Ligonier had landed. Staring out to the seaward across those waters over which my great -great-great-grandfather had been brought, again I found my self weeping."

This was the third bulky book of this year(Atlas Shrugged and Papillon) and like the other two it was also an awesome read. Many of us are never interested in our family history , being the same selfish fellow all through our lives. But some people like the author spend 10 years of their life going back 200 hundred years in history.  The amount of effort that Alex has taken to write this book is commendable.

The story begins from his great great great great grandfather's life in Africa. The description of his childhood and the customs really establishes the fact that every generation , every nation , every cult had their own way of living but the main idea and the cycle of their lives was the same as today. So the story starts from the childhood of Kunta Kinte born in the village Jufureh in Gambia. Just after his manhood training he is kidnapped by the whites and transported to Annapolis, Maryland. 

Then begins the long story of slavery of a family for more than 100 years.The owners to the slaves changes from generation to generation but somehow the family in their time manages to live together. Most part of the book covers the aspects and hardships suffered in being slaves . There are moments in the book which will make you so emotional. Just think of a lifetime when you were not free and spent your entire life working in the same field growing the same crops year after year.Amidst strict restrictions , they were hardly allowed to see the world and reading or writing was a heinous crime.Some slaves spent whole of their lives working for their massas and still could not earn enough money to buy their freedom. 

The book covers the stories of all the generations and each era has a hero ranging from Kunta kinte, George , Tom and so on. 

"In his hut after the Moro had gone that night , Kunta lay awake thinking how so many things - indeed , nearly everything they had learned - all tied together.The past seemed with the present , the present with the future ; the dead with the living and those yet to be born; he himself with his family, his mates, his village , his tribe , his Africa ;the world of man with the world of animals and growing things - they all lived with the allah. Kunta felt very small, yet very large. Perhaps, he thought , this is what it means to be a man."

Read this tale , it is awesome.

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