Alex Haley's Roots: An Author's Odyssey

Adam Henig
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 In 1977, following the airing of the mega hit television mini-series Roots, its author, Alex Haley, became America’s newest “folk hero. ” 

His book was on the Times' Best Seller's list for months, and won the Pulitzer Prize. His story had captivated a nation and then the world. From Idaho to Israel, it seemed everyone was caught-up in “Rootsmania.” 

Alex Haley, the ghostwriter behind The Autobiography of Malcolm X, was on his way to becoming the most successful African American author in the history of publishing until it all fell apart. 

What happened? 

Based on interviews of Haley's contemporaries, personal correspondence, legal documents, newspaper accounts, Adam Henig investigates the unraveling of one of America’s most successful yet enigmatic authors. 


"Henig recounts the highs and lows of Haley’s life with sympathy, addressing the critiques honestly." Publishers Weekly's Booklife 

"While this 52 page book may be his first, it represents a major literary achievement. This book may renew scholar and the general public’s interest in Roots once again." - Nvasekie Konneh, Black Star News and author of The Land of My Father’s Birth 

"Adam Henig has created a gem... A must read for anyone interested in the interplay of politics, race and mixed blessings of fame and fortune that produced the contradictory legacy of a onetime icon." - Terry P. Wilson, Professor Emeritus of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley 

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About the author

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Adam Henig attended California State University, Chico, majoring in political science with an emphasis in cultural and international studies. After graduation, he pursued his interest in African American history and literature.

Alex Haley's Roots: An Author's Odyssey is his first publication.

A book reviewer and blogger, Adam's writings have appeared in the San Francisco Book ReviewTulsa Book ReviewThe Indie Writer Network Daily, Medium, The Biographer's Craft and Blogcritics. He's also been featured on the podcast,  New Books Network: African American Studies. Adam is an active member of the Biographers International Group (BIO).

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Additional Information

Adam Henig
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Published on
Feb 5, 2014
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Biography & Autobiography / Cultural Heritage
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.
Praise for The Autobiography of Malcolm X
“Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will.”—Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father

“Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book.”—The New York Times
“A great book . . . Its dead level honesty, its passion, its exalted purpose, will make it stand as a monument to the most painful truth.”—The Nation
“The most important book I’ll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn’t know I had inside me. I’m one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better.”—Spike Lee
“This book will have a permanent place in the literature of the Afro-American struggle.”—I. F. Stone
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