The Measure Of A Man: A Spiritual Autobiography Paperback – Large Print, June 1, 2000
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Candid memoirs from the actor who has starred in more than 40 movies, directed nine, and written four." -- --USA Today
"Poitier is an excellent storyteller, and the book is anecdotally rich." -- --Booklist
Most of "Measure of Man" is devoted to aimlessly meanderingover mundane non-religious ground (mundane in both senses). Poitier describes his movie roles, marriages, house purchases, business ventures, and friendships, backing and filling with childhood memories, which always verge on providing some key to his success or his artistry. And which always disappoint. These add nothing to the story told in "This Life."
Beyond testifying to the publishing industry's cynicism about the short memory of readers, booksellers, and critics, this product's strong odor of niche marketing deserves comment. The three categories that define the book add up to a promising commercial formula: successful black male + celebrity + "spiritual." They go together like three cherries on a slot machine.
Nothing in "Measure of a Man" gets at the inner sources of Poitier's significance in the history of American cinema. He was the star who established the full status of black men as leading men in Hollywood. He was the first black actor to win an Oscar, also the first one to kiss a white woman and slap a white man on screen. No mere sex symbol, he achieved a majestic moral stature that made him a symbol of African-American hopes. To this day, "dignity" seems to go with Poitier's name like a Homeric epithet. He paved the way for James Earl Jones and Denzel Washington, who could concentrate on putting more backbone into images of black men. (Beliefnet, May 2000) -- From Beliefnet
- Publisher : HarperLargePrint; Large Print edition (June 1, 2000)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006019717X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060197179
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.13 x 0.9 x 9.25 inches
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Here were some of the most interesting aspects of the read for me:
* The reflection on Poitier’s origins on a small island in the Bahamas. Both sheltered and protected in a primitive and economically poor environment, he credits the values instilled by hard-working parents and a childhood full of free exploration and requisite risk-taking for establishing his core internal strength.
* Full of imagination and aware of the limitations of life on a small island, Poitier gets shipped off to the U.S. at the age of 15 with little education and virtually no money. How he gets himself from Florida to Georgia to New York City and finally, to earning a regular income is a story of determination anyone would be proud to share.
* Born in 1927, Poitier’s life spans most of the civil rights milestones that define the 20th century in America. And he doesn’t shy away from relaying the blatant and even life-threatening discrimination he experienced. There was also a lot I didn’t know about the myriad ways minority performers were marginalized throughout the entertainment industry.
* Poitier maintained more control over his selection of roles than many of his contemporaries, particularly for an actor of color. And I found it fascinating to learn how he came to the iconic roles he is now so famous for (Think Lilies of the Field, The Defiant Ones, To Sir With Love, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) and how he was able to influence these roles to keep then authentic to the African-American experience. Even against criticism from the minority community. In fact, many of his movies reflect the evolving story of racism in America during his lifetime.
* Poitier models a real commitment to introspection. Age 72 when he published this book, he is not simply content to sit back and enjoy his success and family. Instead he appears to have an fiery need to push toward deeper and deeper self-awareness — exposing his internal demons, trying to anchor himself in the cosmos, and struggling to understand the relationship between humanity and nature.
My thoughts are not ALL positive. Taken as a whole, the book doesn’t hang together all that well. Many times it felt much more like a series of discrete chapters in which Poitier shares some of his random thoughts. But, that wasn’t much of a distraction. And at the end of the book, I came away more impressed with Poitier than I began. (I have ALWAYS been a big fan of his performances.) I came away with admiration for him as a human being.
Top reviews from other countries
It is the first autobiography I have read. Great read
thank you for the great insight and the life lessons.