by Jon Biddle

I read this book as a teenager at boarding school. For English. It was a book I chose to read and was ambitious for a child that had the attention span of a fish. But I remember it fondly. 

Given the recent events with the Black Lives Matter, I thought I wanted to revisit the book. And boy, I wasn’t disappointed. 

There is much of the book that I remember, the story was romantic and aspirational. You can imagine the warm summer days in the Savannah but the one thing that was lost on me when I was a child and read the book was the understanding of racism and the effects of it. 

Any white person that says ‘all lives matter’ hasn’t read the book. To understand the implications, the extremes that people went too to perpetuate slavery is some so shocking, and upsetting even for me, living in the 21st century.

The story ostensibly is a story of a black family that was born from of Kunte Kinte when he was taken and brought to the USA in the early 1700s. And the family in which he sired and how they went through the years in slavery, serving the white man. 

It’s brutal, cruel and disturbing that this went on, even now, thinking about this is abhorrent. But listening to the words and the narrative that lays within the text, the story is an unabridged lesson in love and family. Something that we can all take away from this awful period that blights our history.

There are aspects to the story that simply take your breath away. The cruelty, the horrors of what happened to the these guys was something that is unimaginable. 

What separates this story, is the end of the book. The author goes into detail how the he obtained the research, the goosebumps prickled as is dawns on you that the story is true. 

The Book Blurb

Based on Alex Haley’s best-selling novel about his African ancestors, Roots followed several generations in the lives of a slave family. The saga began with Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton), a West African youth captured by slave raiders and shipped to America in the 1700s. The family’s sagais depicted up until the Civil War where Kunte Kinte’s grandson gained emancipation. Roots made its greatest impression on the ratings and widespread popularity it garnered. On average, 130 million – almost half the country at the time – saw all or part of the series.

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