"I have no wish to play the pontificating fool, pretending that I've suddenly come up with the answers to all life's questions. Quite that contrary, I began this book as an exploration, an exercise in self-questing. In other words, I wanted to find out, as I looked back at a long and complicated life, with many twists and turns, how well I've done ...
"I have no wish to play the pontificating fool, pretending that I've suddenly come up with the answers to all life's questions. Quite that contrary, I began this book as an exploration, an exercise in self-questing. In other words, I wanted to find out, as I looked back at a long and complicated life, with many twists and turns, how well I've done at measuring up to the values I myself have set." --Sidney Poitier In this luminous memoir, a true American icon looks back on his celebrated life and career. His body of work is arguably the most morally significant in cinematic history, and the power and influence of that work are indicative of the character of tman behind the many storied roles. Sidney Poitier here explores these elements of character and personal values to take his own measure -- as a man, as a husband and a father, and as an actor. Poitier credits his parents and his childhood on tiny Cat Island in the Bahamas for equipping him with the unflinching sense of right and wrong and of self-worth that he has never surrendered and that have dramatically shaped his world. "In the kind of place where I grew up", recalls Poitier, "what's coming at you is the sound of the sea and the smell of the wind and momma's voice and the voice of your dad and the craziness of your brothers and sisters... and that's it." Without television, radio, and material distractions to obscure what matters most, he could enjoy the simple things, endure the long commitments,and find true meaning in his life. Poitier was uncompromising as he pursued a personal and public life that would honor his unbringing and the invaluable legacy of his parents. Just a few years after his introduction to indoor plumbing and the automobile, Poitier broke racial barrier after racial barrier to launch a pioneering acting career. Committed to the notion that what one does for a living articulates to who one is, Poitier played only forceful and affecting characters who said something positive, useful, and lasting about the human condition. Here is Poitier's own introspective look at what has informed his performances and his life. Poitier explores the nature of sacrifices and committment, price and humility, rage and forgiveness, and paying the price for artistic integrity. What emerges is a picture of a man in the face of limits - his own and the world's. A triumph of the spirit, "The Measure Of A Man" captures the essential Poitier.
I liked the story of his upbringing,his trials and tribulations,his life in general. I found the book to be enlightening and warm hearted. I have always been a big fan of his and have enjoyed his talent as an actor. I like his honesty throughtout the book,he does not sugar coat anything,he tells it the way it happened. It was a good read.
May 11, 2007
This book was interesting - at first. I enjoyed reading about where Sidney Poitier came from and how he grew up and began his career. Then the book got a little boring to me. It was like reading a lecture and I lost interest. I skipped over the last quarter of the book. I recommend it but would not give it a 5 star rating. I think the book was hyped up more than it deserved. To me it was a 3 star.
Apr 3, 2007
more than a pretty face
How this dignified, intelligent, talented, handsome man helped create himself surprised me in some ways. Not the part about how his parents and childhood independence grew a healthy, honest sense of self worth. More, how that foundation allowed him to acknowledge his shortcomings and use them as stepping stones upward. What makes him tick is the best part of his story for me because it's a worthy yardstick for anyone to use as a self-measure.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-06-05 Given the personal nature of this narrative, it's impossible to imagine hearing anyone other than Poitier, with his distinctive, resonant voice and perfect enunciation, tell the story. In his second memoir Poitier talks about his childhood in the Caribbean, where he was terribly poor by American standards, but quite happy, swimming and climbing all he could. One of eight kids, Poitier was sent to live with an older brother in Miami when he started to get into difficulties as a teen. But frustrated by his inability to earn a living and by the disparaging way whites treated him, Poitier left Miami for New York. There he worked as a dishwasher, started a drama class and launched a celebrated acting career that led to starring roles in such classics as To Sir, with Love and Raisin in the Sun. Poitier's rendition of these events is so moving that listeners will wish this audio adaptation were twice as long. Simultaneous release with the Harper San Francisco hardcover (Forecasts, May 1). (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-05-01 Poitier's second memoir retains the soul-searching candor that marked his first (This Life, 1980), but lacks its narrative drive. After painting an idyllic portrait of his youth on Cat Island in the Bahamas ("a place of purity"), Poitier traces his path to Hollywood stardom with frustratingly broad strokes. (For the details of Poitier's journey, and his involvement in the civil rights movement, readers are left to consult his earlier work.) Poitier demonstrates the strength of his character with moving stories about his struggles with racism, and he includes anecdotes about his roles in such memorable productions as A Raisin in the Sun, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night and A Patch of Blue. But in the end, this book reads like the random thoughts of a sincere and honorable celebrity channeled through the pen of an experienced and jaded ghostwriter. As an autobiography, it is "spiritual" only in the loosest sense of the term. Poitier's relationship with God, whom he conceives in Hollywood terms as a vague cosmic consciousness, is not mentioned until one of the last chapters of the book. Throughout, he offers moralizing reflections on rage, forgiveness ("a sacred process"), marriage, parenting, prostate cancer and the burning question of whether Sidney Poitier has a dark side. "I had come to believe a little bit in my own press clippings," he notes, reflecting on his reputation as a man of unusual integrity and virtue; for better and for worse, this book contains little to complicate that belief. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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