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Finding Oprah's Roots: Finding Your Own
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Finding Oprah's Roots: Finding Your Own

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Finding Oprah's Roots will not only endow readers with a new appreciation for the key contributions made by history's unsung but also equip them with the tools to connect to pivotal figures in their own past. A roadmap through the intricacies of public documents and online databases, the book also highlights genetic testing resources that can make it possible to know one's ...more
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Crown Publishing Group (NY) (first published January 1st 2007)
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The "finding Oprah's roots" part of the book is interesting and informative. This wasn't intended to be a full biography. There are other more in-depth books about Oprah if that is what you are looking for. The "finding your own" parts of the book are most helpful if your family were slaves in the South. It was not as helpful for my research.

For example, the author repeats several times "... starting out by turning to the 1870 U.S. census -- the first U.S census, as we have seen, that listed Af
Don't let the size of this book fool you, it is a tremendous book that has needed to be written for a long time. There are many guides and tools for researching roots, but this one, highly specialized to pre and post slavery sources is exceptional.

Why is it exceptional? 1) It documents a search. 2) It provides inspiration. In demonstrating a typical search (while Oprah is not typical, the search for her roots is) it shows the dynamics of the oral history, specific written records and the larger
Mar 07, 2008 Kali rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in genealogy, or the African American experience
I will be honest, I probably would have never made it through this book if I wasn't listening to it on tape because Gates is repetative. However, at only 5 hours it was great/very worthwhile background to household chores and working out. I especially enjoyed it because of my LDS upbringing. It was inspiring to hear about the struggles and work arounds genealogists are finding in tracing slave ancestry. I especially liked the lessons Gates pulled out -- genealogy lets you paint individualized li ...more
Heather Leipart
Enjoyed this one- Oprah is a phenomenal rags to riches story and so learning of her familiy's meager beginnings and her African heritage shed new light on her very fortunate rise to success. Truly incredible the things her family had to overcome. Not as biographical as I was expecting- mostly family tree focused and, as the title suggests, very heavily about "Oprah's roots." I really did like this book a lot, and even appreciated the author injecting some of his own family history tidbits into t ...more
Anne Powell
Fascinating story of tracing an African-American genealogy.
for the information about Oprah's ancestors -- what they did, how they lived, how they contributed to their communities -- i really liked this book. however, i was a little disappointed in how the steps taken to get the information were briefly discussed or quickly glossed over. i'll need to look to other resources for that. otherwise, this was an entertaining read.
Nancy Mackay
This book has great potential but, in fact, is disappointing. Even though the author is a professor at Harvard, he seems to be writing for a 5th grade audience.

The book was recommended to me because I am an oral historian interested in family history. Even with my interest, it couldn't keep my interest.
Good overview of the challenges of researching African-American genealogy. Oprah's genealogy allowed Dr. Gates the opportunity to map out just how they figured out her past. The use of DNA testing is something I haven't done yet but will in the near future.
Joyce Gillis
This was as close as I could get to a bio on Oprah. It was educational and informative regarding how to do your own geneaology search. It told quite a bit about Oprah's life and family. Amazing how her life began and how it is now.
Nice book that encourages all to take the time and effort to try to learn and know their roots, their family history. Knowing one's history is a great map to guide or shape where you go in the future.
Mar 26, 2009 Sallie marked it as to-read
Shelves: nonfiction
While i might just scan the technical "how-to" info, this seems to be another important, personal way to understand this part of America's history.
Diane Mueller
Since I love genealogy I liked this book. It was interesting to read about Oprah's family and how information was found out about them.
Interesting. A little short. Good tips for geneologists.
Lee Ellsworth
good followup to the tv series
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Henry Louis Gates Jr. is a Professor of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. He is well-known as a literary critic, an editor of literature, and a proponent of black literature and black cultural studies.
More about Henry Louis Gates Jr....
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