100 Books for America: Roots

With 80 days until the election, let us continue looking at the 100 books every American should read. These write-ups will be short and not incredibly comprehensive looks at some books and novels that will help you become a better citizen. Check out all of the books that have been picked.

LeVar Burton tells a great story about Alex Haley. When they were on set for the filming of “Roots,” Burton was still a kid on scholarship at USC.

But Haley understood that that Burton was about to be in something big. So he knew it would be good for Burton if his mother was there. So he paid for his mom to come to the set for a week.

Haley understood humanity on a deep level. The relationships. The personalities. The growth.

That’s why his novel, “Roots: the Saga of an American Family” is so potent.

Haley takes readers on an unforgettable tale through the generations of his family.

Kunta Kinte, the main character of the novel, is one of the great figures in American literature. Captured in what is now The Gambia, he is enslaved and taken to America.

You have to hold him close to your heart as you feel for every triumph and tragedy he feels. Haley has imbued him with so much life and complexity that you cannot forget him.


Previously, we looked at how two intrepid journalists uncovered one of the great scandals in American history. Up next, one of America’s greatest speeches.

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