When Roots was first published forty years ago, the book electrified the nation: it received a Pulitzer Prize and was a #1 New York Times bestseller for 22 weeks.
To quote from the introduction by Michael Eric Dyson: "Alex Haley's Roots is unquestionably one of the nation's seminal texts. It affected events far beyond its pages and was a literary North Star.... Each generation must make up its own mind about how it will navigate the treacherous waters of our nation's racial sin. And each generation must overcome our social ills through greater knowledge and decisive action. Roots is a stirring reminder that we can achieve these goals only if we look history squarely in the face."