Roots

Reception

Published in October 1976 amid significant advance expectations,[1] Roots was immediately successful, garnering a slew of positive reviews[2][3] and debuting at #5 of The New York Times Best Seller list (with The Times choosing to classify it as non-fiction).[4] By mid-November, it had risen to the #1 spot on the list.[5] The television adaptation of the book aired in January 1977, further fueling book sales. Within seven months of its release, Roots had sold over 1.5 million copies.[6]

In total, Roots spent 22 weeks at the #1 spot on The Times' list, including each of the first 18 weeks of 1977, before falling to #3 on May 8.[7] It did not fall off of the list entirely until August 7.[8] Ultimately, it was on the list for a total 46 weeks.[9] Together, the success of the novel and its 1977 television adaptation, sparked an explosion of interest in the fields of genealogy and researching family histories.[10][11][12]

Haley earned a Pulitzer Prize special award in 1977 for Roots.[13] The television miniseries garnered many awards, including nine Emmys and a Peabody.


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