Finding Your Roots
Henry Louis Gates

Book cover image

Narrated By: Bill Andrew Quinn

Duration: 14 hours and 49 minutes

What to expect

Who are we, and where do we come from? The fundamental drive to answer these questions is at the heart of Finding Your Roots, the companion book to the hit PBS documentary series. As Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. shows us, the tools of cutting-edge genomics and deep genealogical research now allow us to learn more about our roots, looking further back in time than ever before. Gates' investigations take on the personal and genealogical histories of more than twenty luminaries, including Congressman John Lewis, actor Robert Downey Jr., CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, former secretary of labor Linda Chavez, and comedian Margaret Cho. Interwoven with their moving stories of immigration, assimilation, strife, and success is practical information for amateur genealogists just beginning archival research on their own families' roots. Gates also details the advances in genetic research now available to the public. The result is an illuminating exploration of who we are, how we lost track of our roots, and how we can find them again.


Ethnic studies, Human geography, History of the Americas

Listen to a sample

“Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I headed? These are all fundamental questions to which every human being, regardless of race, gender, or background, wants answers. Professor Gates provides these answers to the people he profiles, but [Finding Your Roots] also encourage[s] viewers to explore their own family histories so they can know more about themselves.”

Washington Examiner

“An accessible and engaging book, Finding Your Roots is a veritable how-to guide for readers to explore their own past. Henry Louis Gates Jr. brings a wealth of genealogical research expertise to his interviews, which are witty, knowledgeable, and touching…Throughout, Gates imbues the stories with a kind of intimacy that speaks to all of us in our personal journeys searching for our own histories. There’s nothing else quite like it.”