• Alex Haley and the Books that Changed a Nation by Robert Norrell

Alex Haley and the Books that Changed a Nation by Robert Norrell

This first biography of Haley follows him from his childhood in relative privilege in deeply segregated small-town Tennessee to fame and fortune in high-powered New York City. It was in the Coast Guard that Haley discovered himself as a writer, which eventually led to his rise as a star journalist in the heyday of magazine personality profiles. At Playboy, Haley profiled everyone from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Miles Davis to Johnny Carson and Malcolm X, leading to their collaboration on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Writing the book Roots was for Haley a deeper, more personal reach. The subsequent book and miniseries ignited an ongoing craze for family history and made Haley one of the most famous writers in the country. Roots sold half a million copies in its first two months of publication, and the original television miniseries was viewed by 130 million people. Soon after the nation had been riveted by Roots, public attention was focused on whether the book was really factual and whether Haley had plagiarized part of the book. The negative press forced Alex Haley to confront the high cost of celebrity in American life. © 244 pages 
     Hardcover published in 2015