“Roots” is the novel in which Alex Haley presents his lineage beginning in 1750 where the reader introduced to a young African villager known as Kunta Kinte. The reader spends several chapters in the village with young Kunta as he grows into manhood. There is quite a bit of detail in the depictions of Kunta’s family dynamics and the traditions of the village. It’s pretty interesting for the most part, but it does seem to go on a little longer than necessary.
Then, Kunta is finally ambushed and taken across the ocean in a slave trip. That was a well described grueling experience for the young fellow. Haley does an effective job emphasizing the likely abuse and misery experienced by the Africans being brought over to be sold like cattle into the brutal institution of slavery.
So starting from that point, the reader learns the struggles and triumphs of the descendants of Kunta Kinte in a very lengthy chronicle of one of America’s darkest practices in her history.
There are times when the story seemed to drag a little, however Haley does present a complicated and intriguing picture of what that period in history was probably like. Haley also depicts some complicated relationships between the masters and the slaves where it wasn’t all abuse all the time. Of course, any moments of reasonable or even kind behavior from the plantation owners does not excuse the overall practice of slavery. There is apparently some research out there that suggests Haley is not entirely accurate as to his family history, however I can still appreciate the importance of this piece on the literary landscape. Haley is also a talented enough writer where artistic license is easily forgiven. The novel also reads as a novel and not a textbook. I am not going to dig into it deep enough to ascertain for certain what is true and what is perhaps questionable.
Although it took me longer than usual to finish the book and it was a tough read at times, I am glad that I took the time to include this in my efforts to broaden my literary horizons.
Next up, I return to a series that I have enjoyed for a few years now and something a little less weighty. Mitch Rapp has continued to live on despite the death of his creator, Vince Flynn, a few years ago. Kyle Mills has recently continued Rapp’s crusade to protect the United States from whatever dastardly attacks are being planned from the more hostile powers around globe in “Red War”.