Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey

Adam Henig. CreateSpace, $6.99 trade paper (118p) ISBN 978-1-5007-5149-4
Henig tracks the life of Alex Haley after the publication of his path breaking book, Roots, offering a sad reminder of the potential downsides to achieving one’s dreams. He begins by offering some social context on the TV premiere of the mini-series based on Haley’s book, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which detailed his family’s history from Gambia, through slavery, to the present. The amazing response to the story made Haley an overnight sensation. Everywhere he went, he was mobbed. “In Philadelphia, a dozen guards were needed to protect the author.” The saga opened the eyes of millions around the world to the nature of the African-American experience and spawned a craze for genealogy. But Haley’s stardom was marred by an ill-conceived lawsuit against his publisher, Doubleday, as well as scholarly questions about his research methods and accusations of plagiarism. Adding to these problems, Henig discusses Haley’s womanizing, which cost him three marriages, and his inability to handle money responsibly. Henig recounts the highs and lows of Haley’s life with sympathy, addressing the critiques honestly. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 01/12/2015
Release date: 08/01/2014
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