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.
Examines how Alex Haley's 1976 book became a culture-shifting phenomenon that changed the way Americans viewed slavery.
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