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Voices in the Mirror: An Autobiography (Harlem Moon Classics) Paperback – September 20, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Harlem Moon Classics
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (September 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767922123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767922128
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,159,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Poor, jobless and hungry in Harlem in the early 1930s, Parks went on to achieve distinction as a photographer, film director, writer, poet, composer and painter. Born in a small Kansas town in 1912, he became the first black photographer at Life and Vogue, and later, Hollywood's first black director and screenwriter. His exhilarating, inspirational autobiography provides a searing view of what it's like to be black in America. Careening from the "hate-drenched city" of Washington, D.C., in the 1940s, to New York, "that jungle of uncertainty," to postwar Paris, Rio and Birmingham, Ala., Parks sets down his impressions of civil rights and black power strugges, his encounter with Third World poverty and meetings with Eisenhower, Churchill, Malcolm X, Sugar Ray Robinson, Ingrid Bergman, to name a few. He is guarded and defensive in discussing his three marriages, but succeeds in drawing the reader into the peaks and anguish of his "complex, transitory, bittersweet existence." Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Photographer, film editor, writer, composer Parks tells his own story with frankness, humor, and without pretension. He describes his early days in Fort Scott, Kansas when the loving family was poor and suffered from racial slurs, to a move to Minnesota after his mother's death, to demeaning jobs in Chicago brothels and flophouses. After learning to use his first camera, he stifled his fury at the racism he suffered and turned that rage into a creative force that broke racial barriers as he photographed for Vogue and Life magazines and directed the award-winning film Shaft. His discussions that range from the greats of the world to the unknown, young militants of the civil rights movement strengthen this powerful autobiography. The story underscores a belief in dignity and the difference one man can create. This is a must for every library that serves young adults. --Mike Printz, Topeka West High School, KS
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joel Peck on February 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Never before have I read a book with such honesty flowing off the pages. As Gordon Parks talks about his life from a young boy to a man you can feel everything he is going through. He doen't hide his feelings and lets you know how he felt at certain times in his life. When he talks about the hate he saw growing up and how he felt about white men, you can sence what it must have been like for him to challenge the odds and become one of the most powerful photographers of his time. Another thing that real made this book powerful was when he talked about his time as a Photo journalist for Time, having to tell people everything through the voice of a journalist and not an activist. He also makes the clear point that pictures speak louder than words. He remarks many times that he used his camera when others like red jackson used a gun. The camera is a powerful weapon in the right hands. If you have ever seen an of Gordon Parks's work or seen his movies, you will enjoy this book. It is a personal glimps in to the life of the man behind the camera.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on November 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I enjoy reading about a person's life and IN VOICES IN THE MIRROR, the autobiography of Gordon Parks, I found his story interesting, edifying and at times inspirational. Mr. Parks was born into a life where the world made differences in people based on the color of their skin and not their character. However, instead of using their biases as a crutch to not succeed, he worked hard to make his dreams come to fruition.

Mr. Park's life spans many decades, wars and social climates in America. At age 15, he was homeless and living a depressing existence. He worked menial jobs to survive. He persevered and went from working on the railroad to being the first African-American photographer for Life and Vogue magazines. His life's adventures took him all over the world to cover some of the most politically disturbed countries, America's civil right's struggles, as well as Third World areas where poverty was rampant, all which were captured for posterity with his camera. He also composed a musical concerto, wrote books and penned poetry. His first novel, The Learning Tree was made into a motion picture, where he was the director and executive producer, which was an unknown anomaly during this period of time. Let's not forget he was the director of Shaft. His stories and pictures touched the hearts of many Americans, and during his life he received many accolades for what he enjoyed doing. So from the dirt roads of Kansas, Mr. Parks graduated from the school of hard knocks but lived a life that is and was so illustrious, fulfilling and awe-inspiring.

This autobiography presents itself as an honest rendition of Mr. Park's life. He tells his story eloquently and allows readers to feel the emotions he was experiencing in each particular time of his life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Saundra N. Harris on August 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm surprised that this book has not gained more notarity. I am an admirer of Gordon Parks. His story is one of inspiration and challenge. An imperfect man who maximized his potential. Gordon Parks is an American Icon. Author, composer, photographer, and mentor his life is simply amazing. From being proclaimed dead at birth to succeeding at everything he touched; his life embodies hope and aspiration.
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By soulonice on May 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is full of life lessons and was told by a man who had plenty of experience to tell them. He speaks about his upbringing, which was humbling to say the least. He tells about the first camera he ever purchased. Not having much experience at all, he took some shots, and the rest was history from that standpoint. He was always humble, and just enjoyed doing the things he loved: photography, literature, and music. He made the most of his opportunities when he was given them. His undying love and support for the poor and the less fortunate is well-chronicled, and his loyalty to fellow Blacks at the harshest of times put him in very compromising situations, but he was always able to adapt, sympathize, and relate to his subjects, and it showed in all of his work. He never compromised his beliefs for personal gain, and he was widely respected for it. This book is a reminder to all who may give up on hoping, dreaming, and staying positive. It's a reminder that life is full of twists and turns, hills and mountains. If you stick it out, the sky's the limit. He is an inspiration to all.
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By Scifiwoman on October 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book and all young people should read this. It contains history lessons that will open ones eyes.
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