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Summary

“Before I have a big meeting or decision to make,” says Oprah Winfrey, “I go and I sit with the ancestors. Literally, I go and sit in my closet and I say their names. I just say their names so that when I walk into the space, I don’t walk alone.”

This audiobook will help millions of African Americans never again to walk alone. What’s more, it will show people of all races what the story of Oprah’s ancestors teaches - the legacy one generation bequeaths another, how who we are is startlingly influenced by the paths our ancestors have trod, and the extraordinary impact that even the most humble among us can have on future generations through the simple process of building a life for our loved ones. 

In Finding Oprah’s Roots, prominent African American scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., shines a brilliant searchlight into the dark shadows that have enveloped African American ancestry. By assembling an elite team of historians and geneticists in coordination with PBS and using Oprah and her forebears as his chief example, Gates unveils a process akin to resurrection. 

Finding Oprah’s Roots will not only endow listeners with a new appreciation for the key contributions made by history’s unsung but also equip them with the tools to connect to pivotal figures in their own past. For Oprah, the path back to the past was emotion-filled and profoundly illuminating, connecting the narrative of her family to the larger American narrative and “anchoring” her in a way not previously possible. 

For the listener, Finding Oprah’s Roots offers the possibility of an equally rewarding experience. 

©2007 Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic reviews

"This book is every bit as engaging as the [PBS] documentaries and offers helpful resources." ( Booklist)

What listeners say about Finding Oprah's Roots

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for HBB
  • HBB
  • 15-06-19

Finding Oprah's Roots

Excellent However I am 83 years old and will follow Dr Gates "what to do" as much as I can. It was motivating for me. It reconfirmed my thinking and that of my father. The content made me even more proud to be African American. I watch Dr Gates on PBS.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for lre410
  • lre410
  • 02-10-13

Entertaining and informative - a rare combination

Where does Finding Oprah's Roots rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is difficult to compare - certainly not fiction - not complete history; in a class by itself.

What other book might you compare Finding Oprah's Roots to and why?

I have not seen a comparable book regarding genealogy

Which character – as performed by Dominic Hoffman – was your favorite?

n/a

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The research information was helpful to me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • ButterLegume
  • 13-12-10

We all have roots.

Upon reflection, it is easy to understand why this book was written about Oprah -- everyone knows her. If someone wrote a book on, say, my roots, I'm sure it wouldn't go very far. But what used to make Oprah interesting now makes her ordinary. She's just another rich person who has traded the God she so loved for the "spiritual," read: money. It's sad really, because what an opportunity she was given.

Dr. Gates, the author, is wonderful, and I can't get enough of him. A smart, compassionate, fair man and I wish him much success with this, and other, titles.

7 people found this helpful