Alex Haley’s best seller, Roots, is stirring up trouble again. Perseus Books, which owns such high-toned imprints as John and Teresa Heinz Kerry’s publisher PublicAffairs, has made no effort to expunge or identify plagiarized passages in its imprint Vanguard Press’s 30th-anniversary edition of the book. From the “Publisher’s Statement”: “Haley was sued for plagiarism when it was discovered that several dozen paragraphs in Roots were taken directly from a novel, The African, by Harold Courlander, who ultimately received a substantial settlement” ($650,000). When asked why the purloined passages were not identified or footnoted, the book’s publicist said that “the issue of plagiarism” was mentioned elsewhere in the edition but declined to say why its instances were not pointed out. According to an expert’s testimony for the plaintiff at the 1978 copyright trial, Haley took the character of his alleged African forebear, Kunta Kinte, as well as key parts of Kunta’s plotline, directly from Courlander’s book. No expert testified for Haley. Penn professor Michael Eric Dyson, who wrote the introduction to the anniversary edition, contends that “no flaw or shortcoming in Haley’s tome could dim the brilliant light he shed on the black soul.” —Philip Nobile
Most Watched on Vulture
Most Viewed Stories
Bruce Springsteen Gave U2 Advice That They Promptly Ignored
America’s Got Talent Contestant Accuses Tyra Banks of Humiliating a Child
Make Your Choice and Watch Tituss Burgess’s Rousing Rendition of ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’
The Handmaid’s Tale Recap: If You Go Back, You Will Die
Dirty Dancing: Apparently You Can’t Have the Time of Your Life Again
The Americans Recap: Won’t Somebody Think of the Children?
Aziz Ansari’s Formerly Chubby Cousin Harris Plays His Buff Cousin in Master of None
The Bachelorette Season-Premiere Recap: This Feels Different
What Other Blockbuster Villains Can Learn From David in Alien: Covenant
The Bachelorette’s Lucas ‘Whaboom’ Yancey Is Irritating, But Don’t Call Him a Villain
Latest News from VulturePete Wells Is Wrong About What a Critic’s Role Should Be
He doesn’t want to review a fancy place in Mexico — fine. But there’s more to criticism than giving advice.Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Recap: The Greatest Boobs Around
“We already have a Big Naturals here in East Dogmouth. It’s not a supermarket, but they do serve wings.”Ariana Grande ‘Broken’ After Manchester Arena Bombing, Officially Suspends Her World Tour Through June 5
Her shows have been postponed so Ariana and her team “can further assess the situation and pay our proper respects to those lost.”Dany’s Got a New Throne, and Other Things We Learned From the New Game of Thrones Trailer
An unlikely sex scene is seemingly on the way.In Restless Creature, a Ballet Legend Confronts the Realities of Sexism and Retirement
When she decided to retire from ballet, Wendy Whelan’s entire life changed.What Happens to Nudity Onscreen When You Remove the Male Gaze?
“It’s like, Wait a second, I’m not the object?”Ellen DeGeneres Is Returning to Stand-up With a Netflix Comedy Special
It will mark the comic’s first TV comedy special since 2003.Harry Styles Made the Most Intriguing Pop Album of the Year
The album deliberately tackles the trappings of a classic-rock album and succeeds.Get a First Listen to Christine Ebersole’s Ode to Pink in War Paint
Only Elizabeth Arden could deliver a torch song to a color.Game of Thrones Season 7 Trailer: Gird Your Loins!
Game of Thrones returns July 16.
God bless the teenager who introduced Haneke to social media.Aziz Ansari’s Formerly Chubby Cousin Harris Plays His Buff Cousin in Master of None
Harris got hot.The Flash Season-Finale Recap: Panic in Central City
Barry finally pays penance for his mistakes.Michael Haneke Makes Snapchat Scary in Happy End
God bless the teenager who introduced Haneke to social media.The Returning Stars of Twin Peaks, Then and Now
Looking good, Shelly.How The Handmaid’s Tale Picked Each of Its Songs
The show’s music supervisor walks us through the music of each episode.Watch a Lot of Fantastical Space Battles in the New Trailer for Valerian
Luc Besson’s intergalactic space drama hits theaters this July.How Matt Walsh and Amy Poehler Turned a Strip Club Into Comedy History
▶️ “Thank you Mayor Giuliani for your decency campaign.”Jimmy Kimmel Basically Let U2 Have His Show Last Night
The band talked about the Manchester bombing, Trump, and played two songs --- one new and one much older.Cannes Review: The Beguiled Is Bloodless in All the Wrong Ways
On the whole, The Beguiled is too polite to feel rewarding.