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To Sir with Love Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1990

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Editorial Reviews


“Moving and inspiring. . . . A book that the reader devours quickly, ponders slowly, and forgets not at all.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Fine, and genuinely touching.” —Caryl Phillips
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

E. R. Braithwaite was born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1912. Educated at the City College of New York and the University of Cambridge, he served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Braithwaite spent 1950 to 1960 in London, first as a schoolteacher and then as a welfare worker—experiences he describes in To Sir, With Love and Paid Servant, respectively. In 1966 he was appointed Guyana’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations. He has also held positions at the World Veterans Federation and UNESCO, was a professor of English at New York University’s Institute for Afro-American Affairs, and taught creative writing at Howard University. The author of five nonfiction books and two novels, he currently lives in Washington, DC.  
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jove (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515105198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515105193
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

To Sir, with Love is an unbelievably inspiring story.
C. Knight
To Sir With Love describes the author's journey as he gains his students' respect and at the same time teaches them to become better human beings.
I remembered seeing this movie years ago and wanted to read the book.
M. Sarver

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By C. Knight on March 1, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
To Sir, with Love is an unbelievably inspiring story. E. R. Braithwaite, the author of this memoir, captures the shame and hatred of prejudices and racism. The journey begins in the East End of London, during the 1940's. Mr. Braithwaite teaches at Greenslade Secondary School, which is surrounded by poor neighborhoods filled with social vermin. Rick Braithwaite is a young black man, born in South America, who just got out of the Air Force. Now in Britain, Braithwaite's looking for a career, mainly to pay for food, but things don't work out as planned. He came to know the virus of prejudice very well, as he was turned down from job after job. Braithwaite described feeling "caught like an insect in the tweezer grip of prejudice." Teaching became the cure to set him free.
Braithwaite is placed in a classroom full of rude, obnoxious children, but little does he know that these are the children who will change his life. In the beginning, he described that he wanted this job, "but it would be a job, not a labor of love." Then, after spending time with the students, Mr. Braithwaite began "learning from them as well as teaching them." The class may have problems in their home lives, but when they enter the classroom, Mr. Braithwaite joins them on a journey to adulthood. The students ask many questions, which allows them to acquire the knowledge they deserve. On occasion the questions touch upon people of different races, and Mr. Braithwaite gives mature answers, and speaks to them as adults. Braithwaite's theory is to treat his students older than they are so they will behave more grownup. With a teacher who respects his students, they, in return, accept him and honor him with the courtesy of "Sir".
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the novel, both the teacher, Braithewaite, and his students end up going through many changes that ultimately result in their coming to change their way of thinking about each other. In life, as in this fictionalized account, the ability to adapt to the world around one's self is a very important trait.
In the story, Braithewaite begins with a set of preconceived ideas about his students. He expects them to be unintelligent, rough, racially intolerant children with no future-hardly deserving of his respect. But, as he sees later, they are are the total opposites of his initial ideas. This is gradually shown through their actions, such as such as the students all going to visit the house of their black friend during his crisis, or their learning to treat each other with respect;they learned to address each other as their last names, inthe case of the boys, and "Miss", for the girls. For the students,they learned to respect and really learn from their teacher,something they had never cared to do before. Braithewaite helped them to break out of the the pattern of intolerance and roughness that society had placed them in. This is a key point of the novel, this idea that people can change their ways.
In my own experiences, I have ended up changing my ways as I have become wiser. One example would be my relationship with my older sister. As a child, I constantly fought with her over everything and never tried tried to get to understand her. Gradually, though, as I grew older, I learned to accept and to understand her. Now, though we still argue about a lot of things, I feel my relationship with her has improved;I now look at her as a nice person with much to offer me, rather than as my "evil" sister.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Matalasi Sa on May 9, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As my teacher talk about this book.It's like that she explain the whole story to me.So i started search around for this book.
As i start read the story it tells me that the story is about a negro man,E.R.Braithwaite.This story of a western teachers trial and triumphs with a group of senior pupils in an over crowded London school is closely based on the authors own experiences in the east end.Written with charity and compassions,it clearly sets out some of the difficulties facing the many coloured people in England,and makes a moving plea for tolerance and mutual unterstanding.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kent Braithwaite on August 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First things first. I am not related to E.R. Braithwaite. I teach high-risk students in one of the most impoverished schools in the United States, not in the United Kingdom. I am an author--my debut mystery is in its initial release. With those disclaimers in place, I want to clearly state my unequivocal admiration for TO SIR, WITH LOVE. It is a must-read book for any teacher worth her classroom. It tells the tale of Mr. Braithwaite and his struggles to teach poor teenagers on the verge of adulthood in one of the poorest neighborhoods of London. His story rings true. Being a non-Latino teaching Latino students, I understand the racial tensions in the story. The difficulties in getting students to focus on goals more distant in the future than the upcoming weekend are also painfully true. The need for creative and heartfelt approaches to these educational challenges is additionally made clear. And, of course, the inspirational tone of the book is exactly what is needed in this day and age. TO SIR, WITH LOVE should be more widely read than it already is, and I hope every teacher has similar inspirational tales to tell, as does E.R.Braithwaite and this reviewer.
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