by Alex Haley and David Stevens, 1993
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: Read a book with a cover you don’t like.
Much like its well-known predecessor Roots, Queen mines American history to chart Alex Haley’s lineage, this time from the paternal side. Starting with his great-great-grandfather James Jackson as he prepares to leave Ireland at the end of the 1700s, Haley traces the arrival of his European ancestor in America for the purposes of telling the story of his grandmother, the titular Queen. As Roots opened in Africa and followed Kunta Kinte’s capture and enslavement, it’s perhaps surprising that the sequel spends much of the first half of the book narrating the experiences of Haley’s white forebears. However, the truth is that this is the story of America, not just immigration from the Old World to the New for a chance at a better life, and not just the enslavement and importation of Africans so the former could amass wealth and power, but the intersection of the two, often borne in the children who were the result of the bonds of this societal structure.