Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gates follows his PBS documentaries on African American genealogy with a book detailing the search for the family tree of the documentaries' best-known subject, talk show host Oprah Winfrey. He chronicles the process of uncovering Oprah's family history, challenged by the same obstacles that all African Americans face in finding documentation during and after slavery. Gates advises readers to begin by gathering oral histories from living relatives, even as he recalls the process of talking to Oprah's relatives and the arduous task of finding a paper trail. Gates also encourages readers to get beyond the inevitable hurtful and embarrassing memories that inform so much black family history, including slavery, sexual assaults on black women, and relatives who passed for white, all elements that cloud the process of establishing a family tree. As he did in the documentaries, Gates offers DNA testing as a means of locating genealogical ties to particular ethnic groups in Africa. This book is every bit as engaging as the documentaries and offers helpful resources. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2007 Booklist