- Paperback: 311 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (P) (September 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 080503000X
- ISBN-13: 978-0805030006
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #926,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The African Paperback – September, 1993
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Top Customer Reviews
But there are interesting vignettes in the book, such as the way the slaves try to hold on to their old African traditions even as they are forcibly being "Americanized" every day. There is a connection with these slaves and the modern day immigrants who also try to hold on to customs of their original country. In an unfamiliar country, the newcomer tries to construct the familiar, even if it is something as simple as placing in the new home a picture or knick-knacks that are a link to the past. For slaves whose "immigration" was forced and who had nothing (in some cases, not even their clothes), trying to hold on to the old ways is the only way to construct the familiar. The author is well-versed in African customs (see his other books like "The Cow Tail Switch," "The Fire on the Mountain," and "The Hat Shaking Dance") -- and the reminiscences and rituals in the slave cabins are a touching part of the narrative.
I read this book (after reading "Roots" earlier) over the summer on a bus coming from a family reunion in Washington DC to South Carolina. This is a great book, but the similarities with "Roots" ends with the basic subject matter and the slave ship scene, which was the source of the suit. Beynd that, the characters and stories of Wes and Kunta Kinte take on different dimensions altogether.
Wes, the title character in this novel, has some really interesting adventures. After being captured from Africa and brought to North America, he deals with slavery, encounters with American Indians, and some adventures with residents of a "free Negro" settlement. These episodes are told in a page turning fashion and for the rapid reader, its a good overnight or weekend read. Courlander's background in world folklore helps him with authentic details.
So both for its place in history and just for interesting reading, "The African" is a good way to spend some time. It's not "Roots," , but still a fine book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Peace. Great tale! Alex Haley needs to be wiped from history. Peace.Published 5 months ago by Ahmad M Hamid