10 DVDs; $119.98
The original miniseries Roots aired in 1977, a year after America completed its massive bicentennial celebration of its colonial history. Roots was an epic, and equally culturally pervasive, counterhistory, tracing the story of African Americans (through one family) from Africa through slavery and its aftermath. Roots: The Next Generations, while neither the same artistic or commercial success, brought the story up to the 20th century. This boxed collection completes the circle, uniting the landmark TV series with a collection of documentaries that as fascinating in their own way look at the shows' effect on the consciousness of contemporary Americans. To know yourself, Roots showed America, you must know your past, however inspiring or shameful it might be.