Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Roots” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  110,544 Ratings  ·  2,249 Reviews
Tracing his ancestry through six generations - slaves and freedmen, farmers and blacksmiths, lawyers and architects - back to Africa, Alex Haley discovered a sixteen-year-old youth, Kunta Kinte. It was this young man, who had been torn from his homeland and in torment and anguish brought to the slave markets of the New World, who held the key to Haley's deep and distant pa ...more
Audio CD, 24 pages
Published 2007 by BBC Audiobook (first published January 1st 1976)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Roots, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Connie No one. It was written in English (Southern English) by a descendant of Kunte Kinte.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nandakishore Varma
I read this book long, long ago: came across it while going through a book list here on Goodreads, and suddenly felt the urge to post a review.

Dear Kunta Kinte,

We are separated by time, space and culture. Throughout your largely tragic life, you would never have imagined that your story would ever be written, let alone read by a bookish teenager in far-away India, for whom slavery till that day was only a fact learned from school textbooks, mucked up to pass hated history exams. However, Mr. Kin
This book was astonishing to me - particularly the narrative of Kunta Kinte's life. This is why I read! What an amazing description of African culture and the rights of manhood. Then, the horrible violation of the character by slavery and the cross-cultural experience of an African joining slaves who were predominately born in the United States. Sounds silly, but though I've read many books on slavery, none have dealt with the differences among slaves themselves and how growing up as a slave sha ...more
Tea Jovanović
Knjiga, a potom i serija, koje smo mnogo voleli... Kako bi bilo lepo kad bi se neko setio evergrin naslova i ponovo objavio ovu knjigu... Pre nekoliko godina sam nabavila originalni box set serije pa mogu da uživam u njoj kad god poželim... Makar nešto... :)
Nov 20, 2007 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, favorites
I honestly can't believe how much I enjoyed this book. It's been sitting on my shelf for about half a year now and I've been wanting to read it as soon as I got it. I always just started another book though and always said "next time."

I finally picked it up 6 days ago and finished it about 10 minutes ago.

The beginning was wonderful. I was so enthralled with Africa and Kunta Kinte and his family and the whole works. The way they lived, the culture, the traditions, it was like reading of another
Tayebe Ej
May 16, 2015 Tayebe Ej rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: همه
Shelves: novels
درباره ی بردگی کتاب و فیلم کم نخوندم و کم ندیدم اما چیزی که کتاب ریشه ها رو خاص میکنه، توصیف وضعیت «برده بودن» نیست، وصف مسیر دردناک و تلخ «برده شدن»ه.. 400 صفحه اول کتاب، از زندگی کونتا کینته ی مسلمان آفریقایی در دهکده اش، تا برده شدنش و آورده شدنش به امریکا، بهترین، جذابترین و تأثیرگذارترین بخش ریشه هاس..
الکس هیلی بعد از دوازده سال تحقیق، سفر به آفریقا و پیدا کردن دهکده ای که اجدادش در اون زندگی میکردن، کتابی رو مینویسه که زندگی هفت نسل از خانواده اش رو روایت میکنه، به این امید «که این سرگذشت،
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Feb 23, 2013 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Ultimate Reading List - History
The teenage self who first read this book would have given it five stars without hesitation. The conception is brilliant. I don't think there's a better way to really absorb history, and really inspire people to dig deeper, than what this purported to do. To really have you come face to face with history by telling the story of one family, especially in fictional narrative form, where people of the past can be brought vividly to mind as people who bled and sweated and struggled. And Alex Haley h ...more
May 15, 2013 L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
تعجب كونتا كنتي من بعض أفراد قبيلته الذين كانوا عبيداً عندهم مقابل الأكل والشرب أو مقابل حياتهم لكونهم كانوا في الأصل إما أعداء أو سجناء .. واستغرب قبولهم و ارتضاءهم لهذا الوضع، فاستفسر من والده الذي رد عليه بقوله:-

لقد أصبحوا عبيداً عندما لم يكونوا شجعاناً لدرجة يفضلون الموت عن الأسر

هكذا تربى "كونتا كنتي"، أن العبد شخص يدعوا للاحتقار، كيف لا وهو سليل عائلته الذائعة الصيت بتاريخها وثقافتها .. .. ولكن بين ليلة وضحاها يصبح عبداً أيضاًعندما قُبض عليه من قِبل تجار العبيد وعبر البحر من "جامبيا" إلى
Apr 07, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This is probably the book that started my historical fiction fixation. I read this in my early teenage years along with the Clan of the Cavebear books, Gone With The Wind and the North and South series.

I love how it brings history to life. The characters are real and you can sympathize with their situations -- particularly Kunta Kinte's. It made the horrible practice of slavery real and how it dehumanizing it was. I think that reading it at a young age made me into a more compassionate person.
I appreciate the author's research of his own roots and the overall message this book has. The problem I had with it was that the writing style was uninteresting. It wasn't bad but it made the characters too two-dimensional for me to enjoy the story overall. They were all empty and I couldn't cheer for them or feel for them. But I understand why the book is important to some and why it has the position it has, I just didn't notice the literary value it supposedly has. Plus the plagiarism accusat ...more
Book Concierge
Book on CD performed by Avery Brooks.

Haley’s blockbuster history of his ancestors begins with the birth of a baby boy – Kunta Kinte – in a small African village in the Spring of 1750, and ends two centuries later in Arkansas.

It’s a gripping tale and Haley is a great story teller. I was engaged from page one and found myself very interested in all aspects of the book – from Kunta Kinte’s boyhood in Africa, to his experiences as a slave, to the continued story of his descendants and how they kept
محمد على عطية
أعتقد أن عدداً لا بأس به من جيلى - مواليد أوائل الثمانينيات - قد شاهد المسلسل الأجنبى الشهير المأخوذ عن هذه الرواية.و من شاهد المسلسل تعرف من خلاله على فترة من أكثر فترات التاريخ الأمريكى إنحطاطاً...هى الفترة التى اتسمت بتجارة الرقيق المختطف من أفريقيا.
بدأت قراءة الرواية ولدى شوقلإستعادة ذكرى هذا المسلسل الذى شاهدته فى طفولتى, و لكنى أُخذت بأسلوب أليكس هيلى المشوق و الجميل فى وصفه....و طوال القراءة كنت أتخيل كم المجهود الذى بذله الكاتب ليصل إلى قصص 6 أجيال سابقة من أسلافه منذ الجد الأفريقى المسل
Jennifer D
this is a perfect example of a book that would benefit from GR offering different rating criteria, rather than just one overall rating.

because of the cultural and historical significance of roots, it deserves 5-stars. but because i was really expecting much stronger writing and a smoother style - i mean, he's got 900 pages to work with here; it's not like there's a shortage of space - i feel like the book was only 2 to 3-stars on the quality of writing.

i did very much enjoy the dialects haley
Linda I
"Roots" is the supposed genealogical recounting of Alex Haley's African roots to his great-great-great grandfather, Kunta Kinte, a Mandinka tribesman who was captured and sold into slavery. The story follows Kunta through his upbringing in Gambia, capture, voyage across the sea, sale, attempted escapes, mutilation at the hands of slave capturers, marriage to slave housekeeper and the birth of his daughter Kizzy. The story then follows Kizzy's sale to another owner and the birth of her son, Georg ...more
Feb 03, 2015 عــــادي rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

كيف لها ألا تسكب ( بنها ) دموعاً ، قهوتي في حضرة ( الجذور ) ترسم صورة ذاك الصبي ( كونتا كونتي ) الفتى المسلم الذي أُنتزع من أحضان أدغال أفريقيا ليلقى به في جحيم العبودية رواية مأساوية لأحداث حقيقية تفاعلت معها بكل مشاعري بعد أن تنتصف الرواية ستصعقك مفاجأة إقشعر لها جسدي حين قال ( وطرقا الباب يحملان طفلا ) وإستطرد الكاتب ( هذا الطفل كان أنا ) !! لم أشاء أن أفسدها عليكم فقط أردت تجسيد إحساسي :)
فقد بدأت علاقتي بهذه الرواية مذ صغري إذ حكت لي أمي عن مسلسل عرض في السبعينيات على التلفزيون السعودي ( بال
Sawsan Alotaibi
Jun 08, 2012 Sawsan Alotaibi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: أوصي-به
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
كتبت يوم الأحد: 13 / رجب / 1433هـ

رواية كتبها " إليكس هيلي" عن معاناة الأفارقة المنزوعين من تربتهم وأرضهم إلى أمريكا الشمالية للعبودية، ومعاملتهم معاملة الأشياء، وسلب آدميّتهم. مجسدة في رمز البطل " كونتا كنتي" وما تعرض له مما يشيب له الرأس من العذاب والمهانة. ما أنتج حجماً من الألم وكماً من التعاطف الذي غمر النفس عند نهاية الرواية، بعد تحقق حلم العودة خلال 200 عام من العبودية والنفي! في شخص المؤلف الباحثِ عن جذوره الأفريقية. حتى تقف النفس باكية لا بمقدار تلك الوحشية في
I think I read this book about when I was 9. It was summer and it was on my parents shelf so I picked it up to read. I LOVED IT! Even at such a young age. I remember it took me a while to finish but it was compelling, so I kept reading (it's 900 pgs). I think reading the vivid imagery of the slave trade and their treatment was one thing that helped me develop a lot of compassion -- I CARE so much (ok probably too much) about those who've been wronged. And WOW did it open my eyes!! After reading ...more
Magnificent. An epic chronicle of a family through many generations of cruelty, hardship and suffering. But it's much more than that really; it's the history of slavery in America. What happened to the characters in this book happened to millions of others and it's a story that needed to be told and Alex Haley did a masterful job of telling it. Roots should be required reading in high schools because all of us, regardless of age, race, or gender should understand this history. You can't tell the ...more
Aaron Wolfson
There are very few books written about a past place and time that cast such a rapturous spell, and resound with truth and beauty -- it is rare to become so engrossed in a story that maybe, just maybe, you feel like you could have been there. Roots is one of those books.

I knew the basics: Alex Haley has traced his roots all the way back to Africa, and here he tells the story. I thought I had some idea of what slavery may have been like. And I did know a little. But nothing could have prepared me
Erika Nelson
This book is very difficult for me to review. The beginning is horrible and mind-numbingly boring. Some baby is born in Africa, and without providing a reason for us to care, Haley provides every last little detail of some baby's life. I had to skip about a hundred pages of this part, in hopes of something actually happening once the boring baby gets captured. After he does, the book moves from unreadably dull to tolerable only in very small pieces read with a determination to get through this b ...more
I'm so glad that I read this. I'm not sure how much of the story is true, but I'd like to believe it all is.

I love history when it tells a story. Endless facts and figures and dates are boring and tedious, which is exactly what "Roots" isn't. Almost from the first page, I felt that the people being described were REAL people, not characters someone has created out of nothing. The story of Kunta Kinte and his descendants really touched me in their determination to keep not only Kunta's memory al
I somehow missed reading Roots when it was new and fresh. I also never watched the iconic miniseries based on the book. I do remember that both book and miniseries created quite a buzz in the Seventies. I've recently been reading a bit of African-American fiction and a smaller bit of non-fiction about slavery and race issues. It seemed to me that I would eventually need to read Roots simply because of its impact. When I saw it on sale at Audible for $4.95, I snatched it up. As a bonus, the narra ...more
Jan 20, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I put off reading this epic for quite awhile due to the size, but I am extremely glad that I finally checked it off my list. It is a highly researched, multigenerational story that spans 200 years of one family, the key ancestor being a Mandinka man named Kunta Kinte who was renamed Toby by his slave owners. Kunta's story is told, beginning with his birth in an African village, including his kidnapping and horrific journey to America, chained within the disgusting hold of a slave ship. His story
Mar 14, 2016 Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I know there has been controversy concerning this book, how much is true and how much fiction. And there has been a charge of plagiarism for one section, which Haley admitted. But the experience of reading this book is overwhelmingly powerful. Some of it is very hard to read emotionally, but it holds a connection with the reader. It is definitely 'not' a book about the horrors of slavery, at least in my opinion, although there are certainly horrors within it. It is, instead, a book about human b ...more
من جزأين : حوالي 600 صفحة (306 -416)

رواية أكثر من رائعة ... تتحدث عن الجذور لعائلة أمريكية سوداء ... و التي ظل أفرادها يتناقلون أصولهم شفويا"
القسم الأول من الرواية يتحدث عن "كونتا كنتي " الافريقي من قرية "جوفور" و عن عادات هذه القبيلة ...
من ثم يخطف من قبل "الطوبوب" أي البيض ويحمل مع العديد من السود مثله على ظهر سفينة حوالي 90 يوما" و يتم معاملته بوحشية كالحيوانات و بيعه و جعله عبدا" و هو في سن السابعة عشرة و يحاول الهرب أربع مرات لتقطع رجله في أخر محاولة و يستسلم بعدها للأمر الواقع و يبقى عبدا
Heidi Hart Williams
I have always wanted to read Roots, but I've been putting it off because it was such a large read. I finally finished it, and I must admit, I was overwhelmed by the immense effect it had on me. Rarely does a book bring me to tears, but when I finally got to the end and Alex Haley, (great, great, great, great grandson of an African Slave) finally returned to Africa to meet his tribe I was overcome with emotion. Because of Alex Haley's incredible ability to tell his family's story from generation ...more
Nov 17, 2015 Ahmed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

رواية مؤلمة جدا

كيف يجتث الإنسان من جذوره !!

كيف تسلب حرية الإنسان لمجرد إختلاف لونه !!

كيف يُغيّر دين الإنسان لمجرد أنه لا يملك من أمر نفسه شيئا !!

كيف يقتطع جزء من جسمه لإذلاله و التحكم فيه !!

كيف يباع أبناءه لمجرد مخالفتهم للأوامر !!

رواية تفضح الوجه الحقيقي و العنصري للأمريكان الملاعين
ما أثار إندهاشي كيف أن المجتمع الإسلامي في جوفور برغم إيمانه الشديد بالله و تطبيقه للشريعة
مازال يؤمن بالخرافات و السحر !!
Apr 21, 2016 Gabrielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
One of my all-time favorite books. And I'm a very picky reader! Absolutely loved this book - to the degree that I couldn't even watch the miniseries. I just needed to keep it in my head! (Although I did watch enough to see the fabulous Maya Angelou).
I LIVED inside this book, and is one of the VERY few books I've ever re-read (so many books; so little time)! My joy. Literally one of maybe 4 books I've ever re-read. I loved it.
When my dad suggested we read this together for Black History Month, I was excited because it's a classic and I love having people to talk about books with. Never could I have imagined that this book would affect me on such a visceral level (or that I would fly through this 900-page door stopper in a week and a half when I've been reading A Storm of Swords for over a year now).

Yes, this book has its problems: the pacing is inconsistent, parts were actually plagiarized, and the 30th Anniversary E
Jan 22, 2012 Mel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-as-an-adult
Alas, time has not been good to Roots and Alex Haley. Much of his work has been proven to be either plagiarised or wildly inaccurate. It is highly unfortunate because the novel and the TV series were magnificent when they first appeared in the mid-seventies.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Roots by Alex Haley / 4**** 4 10 Apr 23, 2016 03:48PM  
Indian Readers: Victims of Slavery 2 7 Mar 24, 2016 11:32PM  
Bloggers/Book Lov...: Victims of Slavery 1 4 Mar 24, 2016 10:12PM  
African American History 2 14 Jan 18, 2016 08:18AM  
Around the Year i...: Roots, by Alex Haley 4 19 Jan 12, 2016 03:49AM  
try 3 41 Oct 21, 2014 07:31AM  
Controversial Boo...: * ROOTS : * Plagerism * Inaccuracies *Slavery 30 48 May 09, 2014 08:49PM  
  • Hawaii
  • Sacajawea
  • The Bastard (Kent Family Chronicles, #1)
  • Captains and the Kings
  • Lonesome Dove
  • QB VII
  • A Woman of Substance (Emma Harte Saga #1)
  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
  • Black Like Me
  • Evergreen
  • The Far Pavilions
  • Shōgun (Asian Saga, #3)
  • War and Remembrance (The Henry Family, #2)
  • Sally Hemings
  • Jubilee
  • Rich Man, Poor Man
  • The Survivors of the Chancellor (Extraordinary Voyages, #13)
Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was an American writer. He is best known as the author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family, and of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the latter of which he wrote in collaboration with Malcolm X.
More about Alex Haley...

Share This Book

“The first time he had taken the massa to one of these "high-falutin' to-dos," as Bell called them, Kunta had been all but overwhelmed by conflicting emotions: awe, indignation, envy, contempt, fascination, revulsion—but most of all a deep loneliness and melancholy from which it took him almost a week to recover. He couldn't believe that such incredible wealth actually existed, that people really lived that way. It took him a long time, and a great many more parties, to realize that they didn't live that way, that it was all strangely unreal, a kind of beautiful dream the white folks were having, a lie they were telling themselves: that goodness can come from badness, that it's possible to be civilized with one another without treating as human beings those whose blood, sweat, and mother's milk made possible the life of privilege they led.” 20 likes
“Is this how you repay my goodness--with badness?” cried the boy. “Of course,” said the crocodile out of the corner of his mouth. “That is the way of the world.” 19 likes
More quotes…