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Aretha: From These Roots Hardcover – November, 1999

2.3 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The bluesy voice of narrator Ann Duquesnay lends an authentic quality to this inspirational and revealing biography on Aretha Franklin. Duquesnay's lyrical narration relates well with the events of the singer's life and colors each moment with a lively nod toward Franklin's immense talent. "When my piano teacher came to the house, I would hide behind the coats in the back of the closet because I thought her exercises far too elementary. I wanted to skip to the intermediate material. I wanted to run before I could walk." Tracing Franklin's life from a child singing in church choirs through hard times as an unwed teenage mother to her dramatic rise to superstardom, Duquesnay gives voice to the lifetime of family, music, and faith that gave the world the Queen of Soul. (Running time: 6 hours, 4 cassettes) --George Laney --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From Publishers Weekly

While the Queen of Soul's autobiography is no crowning achievement, it offers a breezy tour through the singer's life and trailblazing recording career. Raised in a musical household in Detroit (next door to Smokey Robinson, with frequent visits from Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke, Dinah Washington and Rev. James Cleveland), Franklin made her solo singing debut at the age of 10 in her father's church. At 16, she gave birth to her second son, dropped out of high school and recorded her first album. Several romances and two more sons followed, as did 17 Grammies (the most for a female performer) and more than 20 number-one hits. The strength of this memoir, whose coauthor has collaborated on books by Marvin Gaye, Etta James, Smokey Robinson and Atlantic Records owner Jerry Wexler, lies in Franklin's candid discussion of her craft, song selection and various peers. She's not shy about settling old scores with those she believes have dismissed her in printAincluding Gladys Knight, Mavis Staples and Cissy Houston. But she remains emotionally remote when talking about herself, reserving her real passion for her music. Few will finish this book, however, without an urge to add another Franklin disc to their collection. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Diane Pub Co (November 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756753007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756753009
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,154,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I did not like this book. I regret spending one penny on it. I started reading it under the dryer at the beauty shop. It was so boring that I put it down. I hate to waste money so I forced myself to read it. (It took about a month.)Although she gives some lovely historcal accounts of the 60's & 70's, I bought this book to hear her "dish out the dirt" and "give me the 411". On too many occasions, Aretha leaves the reader hanging by refusing to name names. The book read more like a page from her diary than an autobiograhpy of a singer. I was especially let down near the closing of the book, the words to her sisters. She should have just written them a letter rather than waste print. I bought this book to learn more about Aretha. From reading this book, I gathered that Aretha is a man crazy singer who loves to eat and is afraid to fly.
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By A Customer on December 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be very disappointing, poorly written, and not altogether honest. I was expecting more from the Queen of Soul. To disrespect other singers was a waste of time. Ms. Franklin should know that Barbara Streisand has pure talent, and has one of the greatest voices of this Century. Also, Ms. Franklin should know that Chaka is another true talent. Everyone has something to contribute Ms. franklin. Although I am sure it was not their intention, this book offers nothing that we (the public) has not already read or heard. The "SOUL" was missing from this account of Ms. Franklin's life. Also, while most have compassion for her father's death, we would have liked to know more about her life and less about him. It would have been human of her to at least speak more about her child that is in an institution. She should have put the rumors to rest about that child and her relationship with her father regarding that child. Aretha comes off as a woman who is very unhappy with herself. What a shame. I must say that the woman can sing. I have all of her records, and will continue to purchase her work. However, this book is not worth reading. God Bless her!
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By A Customer on November 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am an enormous Aretha Franklin fan. I feel the need to defend her against this onslaught.
I don't believe that she is compelled to reveal the name of her mystery lover. Nor does she owe us the names of her children's fathers. Put yourself in her shoes, if you wanted to keep your private life private, would you broadcast your personal business? Of course not. Besides what business is it of ours who she dates?
Now I do want to say this, I did not enjoy the book but not because she didn't tell me who her current lover is or what happened between her and her ex- husbands. I found that the book lacked emotion and honesty. I wanted to know where the inspiration came from for, Natural Woman. How did she feel the first time that she heard her songs on the radio? Looking back does she have any regrets? What was it like for her to work in the studio? Does she prefer concerts or just working in the studio. She didn't reveal any of her personal feelings about the entertainment business.
What's up with this attitude of nothing ever being her fault. She had no remorse for throwing the party at Dennis Edwards' house, didn't feel bad about not visiting her son in California, when he was hurt. Nor did she feel bad about lowering Mavis Staples' voice on the song that they sang together. Then to add insult to injury in her mind EVERYONE has offended her. Natalie Cole, Cissy Houston, Gladys Knight (I do not believe for one minute that story about Gladys Knight and the plan ride to Atlanta), Pops Staples, Luther Vandross and all of the other people that she mentioned (or should I say name dropped.) to prove her point of "woe is me" the world is out to get me.
I feel that her mentioning Paul Williams' was in poor taste.
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Format: Hardcover
I am so disappointed in Aretha's literary attempt. Being that we share the same birthday, I had hoped her story would be endearing. However, I hope that sharing the same birthday does not make me anything like this arrogant, egotistical, man-crazy woman. I am sure her life has been filled with more than music and men, yet this book doesn't touch on much of her personal life at all. One could easily find a discography of her records,which is the main focus of the book. She did not need to write the history of her music- making, that speaks for itself. By omitting relevant and pertinent info such as the name of Mr. Mystique, her children's father,and other notables, she has done a great disservice to her fans and to anyone who purchases this book. Not wanting the public to know about her private life is acceptable. But do not tease us with this token autobiography. not writing anything at all would have been better than this side-stepping "effort." The book is an obvious attempt to add to her financial bottom line. The book is not worth the paper it was written on. As for david ritz,if this is the best he can do, I will not buy another book that he co-authors. Of all the biographies that he helped compile, etta james' was the only honest enough to be interesting. As a published author, he should be ashamed to printed such a book as this. Surely, both of these notable people could have done better. Now I believe all the negative press and rumors about aretha's attitide. Aretha if you read this: GET A GRIP, YOU AIN'T ALL THAT.
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