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A Man from Another Land: How Finding My Roots Changed My Life Hardcover – April 27, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Center Street; First Edition edition (April 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599953188
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599953182
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,369,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Actor, producer and human rights activist, Isaiah Washington is an NAACP Image Award and Screen Actors Guild winning American actor. A veteran of several Spike Lee films, Washington is best known for his role as Dr. Preston Burke on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy.

More About the Author

Isaiah Washington IV (born August 3, 1963) is an American actor. A veteran of several Spike Lee films, Washington is best known for his role as Dr. Preston Burke on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy. In 2005, Washington originated the role of gifted cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Preston Burke on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy. His portrayal earned him two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award. Washington was born in Houston, Texas, where his parents were residents in the Independence Heights community. The family moved to Missouri City, Texas around 1978, where he was one of the first graduates from Willowridge High School (1981). Washington went on to serve in the United States Air Force and attended Howard University. Washington married Jenisa Marie Garland on February 14, 1996. The couple have three children (Isaiah V, Tyme, and Iman).

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
Hopefully with this being the catalyst there will be healing.
Urbane Renaissance Society
You feel like the account is truly Mr. Washington's personal journey that he is telling.
J Timothy Quirk
Overall, however, this is a very interesting and enjoyable read.
P. Ginsburg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J Timothy Quirk on August 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I finished reading Isaiah Washington's book last week but as I am still thinking about the book today, I guess it has earned the phrase "thought provoking". The essence of the story for me is that it is a memoir of self discovery told in a very interesting voice with something new to say. While there is the narrative of the DNA that provides a link to Sierra Leone, I think the real discovery is how the reader perceives the author through his account of events. Mr. Washington is a man who knows what it is like to live in relative anonymity (as he starts out), to live in a world of approbation, and to live in a world of public disapproval, somewhat overblown media-hyped disapproval. The discovery is to be true to one's self through it all. There are vignettes of joy and of pain, of history and forgiveness. There is a celebration of knowledge, of understanding DNA and that it has "memory". The author is on a journey that is truly fascinating because he does not know where it will lead when it begins. I found the situations in Sierra Leone compelling and the narrative places that country squarely "on the radar". Like all things in the book, Mr. Washington finds some situations in Sierra Leone exhilarating and some situations truly heartbreaking. There is a story on page 141 of a water pipe which I won't relate here-you can read it. But as a father, my heart breaks reading that story as his does while he is witnessing it. So this is a truly compelling, human story that snuck up on me with each chapter.

As I read A Man from Another Land, it seemed to me like a shoo-in for an audio book. You feel like the account is truly Mr. Washington's personal journey that he is telling.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dera R Williams VINE VOICE on July 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ever since he could remember, no matter where Isaiah Washington went in the U.S., African natives would stop him and ask what country in Africa he came from or what tribe he belonged to. He would always disappoint them with the answer, "I was born and raised in Houston, Texas." From the time he was very young, Washington felt a kinship with Africa. In the color-struck African-American community, where intra-racial colorism ran rampant, he was always fine with his dark skin; he relished in it and refused to let anyone make him inferior. In his memoir, A Man from Another Land: How Finding My Roots Changed My Life, Isaiah Washington recounts his journey of discovering his African ancestry.

After a stint in the U.S. Air Force, Washington entered Howard University in Washington D.C. where he was confronted with more colorism issues from classmates and college officials, which only served to draw him closer to his African roots. He became an activist, joining protests against South Africa apartheid and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela. He began acting at Howard and soon was doing dinner theater, then the plays and films with Spike Lee in New York and eventually movies in Los Angeles. In 1998 he went to Namibia to shoot a movie, Kin. The crew went to Cape Town first and when they stepped off of the airplane, Washington felt as if he had arrived home. Sitting by the river, a force came over him that shook him to his core and he knew he had been there before. Later after he returned home, he was put in contact with Dr. Kittles of African Ancestry, his DNA was tested and it was revealed he shared 99.9 percent ancestry with the Mende and Temne people of Sierra Leone and his paternal side revealed he shared 99.3 percent with the Mbundfu people of Angola.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Ginsburg on June 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I must admit I do not watch much television and have not seen any of Isaiah Washington's movies. Thus, I am not familiar with him as an actor, but only as an author - a very good one. In his book, he recounts how he was adrift until, by chance, he was given a DNA test and learned that he is descended from two tribes in Sierra Leone. This knowledge changed him, gave him a sense of belonging, and set him on a quest to connect with and help the people of Sierra Leone. His story is an engaging one for anyone who has ever wondered about or attempted to locate his or her ancestors or, having discovered one's roots, has felt a powerful connection to the country of ancestry. The story of Mr. Washington's efforts to aid Sierra Leone is reminiscent in some ways of Three Cups of Tea. The difference is that Mr. Washington actually has a DNA connection to the people he is seeking to help.

The book is well written and extremely interesting. If I were Mr. Washington's editor, however, I would have encouraged him to provide more information about the history of Sierra Leone, the slave trade from there, and the recent war - none of which I know very much about, even after having read Mr. Washington's book. Likewise, I would have advised him to provide more information about the events that led to him being released from his contract for Grey's Anatomy. The author assumes that the reader is familiar with tabloid stories about these events. Many readers are not, or will have forgotten, or even if familiar with this episode in the author's life, would have been interested in Mr. Washington's side of the story, which is merely alluded to. These gaps, along with some anecdotes that come across as being narcissistic (e.g., complaints about a cameraman who failed to have the camera rolling when Mr. Washington performs a heroic feat) are a weakness of the book. Overall, however, this is a very interesting and enjoyable read.
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