Books: African Genesis

ROOTS by AtEX HALEY 587 pages. Doubleday. $12.50.

On Sept. 29,1967, Alex Haley quietly celebrated a private bicentennial He stood on a wharf at Annapolis Md exactly 200 years to the day after his great-great-great-great grandfather stumbled off the deck of the slave ship Lord Ligonier at the same spot. His ancestor was Kunta Kinte, one of 98 "Negroes" who managed to survive the three-month trip from West Africa. The original consignment, "packed like spoons in a drawer " included 140 Africans. The one-third loss, Haley notes drily, was about average for...