by Yaa Gyasi
Reading Roots (OK, listening on Audiobook) was an eye-opening experience for me. Slavery was an abstract evil, but seeing how it destroyed Kunta Kinte's African culture - taking his name, music, and religion, and splitting him from his family - hammered home how dehumanizing it was. Part of Homegoing exists on a similar track, following a family generation-by-generation, through slavery and through the virtual slavery of the prison system.
Alternating chapters follow a parallel family branch that stayed in Africa. That struggle, I had little understanding of before. Slavery not only damaged African culture in the United States, but its tentacles crippled African society as well. European colonies pitted African tribes against each other, waging wars where the victors sold captives into the slave trade. Homegoing paints a picture of an Africa that whites have trampled on. Ultimately, it does suggest that there is something enduring about African culture that the evils of slavery and colonization could not kill. I hope that is true.