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Making Roots : A Nation Captivated
by Matthew F. Delmont


Overview - When Alex Haley s book "Roots" was published by Doubleday in 1976 it became an immediate bestseller. The television series, broadcast by ABC in 1977, became the most popular miniseries of all time, captivating over a hundred million Americans. For the first time, Americans saw slavery as an integral part of the nation s history.  Read more...

 
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More About Making Roots by Matthew F. Delmont
 
 
 
Overview
When Alex Haley s book "Roots" was published by Doubleday in 1976 it became an immediate bestseller. The television series, broadcast by ABC in 1977, became the most popular miniseries of all time, captivating over a hundred million Americans. For the first time, Americans saw slavery as an integral part of the nation s history. With a remake of the series in 2016 by A&E Networks, "Roots" has again entered the national conversation. In "Making Roots, "Matthew F. Delmont looks at the importance, contradictions, and limitations of mass culture and examines how "Roots "pushed the boundaries of history. Delmont investigates the decisions that led Alex Haley, Doubleday, and ABC to invest in the story of Kunta Kinte, uncovering how Haley s original, modest book proposal developed into an unprecedented cultural phenomenon."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780520291324
  • ISBN-10: 0520291328
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publish Date: August 2016
  • Page Count: 280


Related Categories

Books > Performing Arts > Television - History & Criticism
Books > Literary Criticism > American - African American
Books > History > African American

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-06-27
  • Reviewer: Staff

Delmont (Why Busing Failed), an associate history professor at Arizona State University, presents the first book-length study of Roots, Alex Haley’s bestselling 1976 novel. After a brief biographical sketch of Haley’s life and career, Delmont focuses on the book’s evolution over more than 10 years, from Haley’s initial conception of a story of African-American life in the 1930s South to the final century-spanning epic and its adaptation into a record-breaking TV miniseries. This is followed by the popular and critical success of both book and show, and finally by plagiarism lawsuits and claims of fabrication that marred Haley’s achievement. Drawing on his scholarly background, Delmont builds his narrative from extensive archival research. His ability to describe these findings in an engaging style keeps the pages turning. Dramatic episodes come alive, such as the rush to finish the book to meet the TV program’s filming schedule, and excerpts from letters written in response to the book and movie are expertly chosen. Delmont adds depth and complexity to the popular understanding of Roots through his critical exploration of all aspects of the book and original miniseries (a second version released in 2016 isn’t covered here), engaging with both its successes and controversies. (Aug.)

 
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