The Measure of a Man

The Measure of a Man

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by Sidney Poitier
     
 

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"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 the contrary, I began this book as an exploration, an exercise in selfquestioning. 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

Overview

"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 the contrary, I began this book as an exploration, an exercise in selfquestioning. 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."

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 the man 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 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 selfworth 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 upbringing 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 who one is, Poitier played only forceful and affecting characters who said something positive, useful, and lasting about the human condition.

Here, finally, is Poitier's own introspective look at what has informed his performances and his life. Poitier explores the nature of sacrifice and commitment, pride and humility, rage and forgiveness, and paying the price for artistic integrity, What emerges is a picture of a man seeking truth, passion, and balance 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.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Following his autobiography (This Life); something with a spiritual dimension. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061747489
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
461,246
File size:
440 KB

Meet the Author

Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win the Academy Award for best actor for his outstanding performance in Lilies of the Field in 1963. His landmark films include The Defiant Ones, A Patch of Blue, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and To Sir, With Love. He has starred in over forty films, directed nine, and written four. He is the author of two autobiographies: This Life and the "Oprah's Book Club" pick and New York Times bestseller The Measure of a Man. Among many other accolades, Poitier has been awarded the Screen Actors Guild's highest honor, the Life Achievement Award, for an outstanding career and humanitarian accomplishment. He is married, has six daughters, four grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

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Measure of a Man 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
AUTONOMOUS More than 1 year ago
I have given this book as gifts to young friend going off to college, new husbands and new fathers. This book is a story of character; how it is sourced, how it is built and how it is lived. It should be required reading for all high school males. It could serve as a good partial remedy to the poor character standards that seem all too common today.
DebbieAC More than 1 year ago
Always admiring Mr. Poitier, I picked this up as an Audio Book. Sidney Poitier read the book himself, so you get a better sense. Had he not been a long time actor, we might have gotten a better feel--he has learned to modulate his voice and inflectons to suit his will. This makes the book real and interesting, but there are no blips to "read behind the scenes" what he's "really" like. Being a successful long time actor, I would have expected him to read well and he did. This book chronicled his life from early childhood hardscrabble in the Bahamas on a remote island, thru moving to Nasseau, Miami, then New York and Hollywood. He started in abject poverty and he worked his way up--it was not an easy climb and you know without him telling a single shred of detail--that he grew up with extreme prejudice--that was the era in the US--he started acting in the mid-fifties. It's remarkable what he's achieved. His acting career started out as no more of a fluke than him washing dishes in New York. The book is a slow read--in that Sidney's voice is slow and modulated--lovely--but still a bit slow. The last chapter or the last CD is the slowest--I kept wanting to take it out, but thougth I might miss something key. It was an interesting story, well told, and I got a sense of who this man was, and how he was shaped to become the man he did. I really respect this man's achievements, and knowing what this might have taken behind the scenes. Now that I've listened to the book, I have a much clearer picture of the man. This is portrayed as a spiritual book, and that I did not see. It did not seem to be a spiritual book, but one of a man explaining how he came to be who he was, and also with a bit of introspection. Buy it as an audio.
donnareads911 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. I could literally hear Mr. Poitier's voice as I read it, and couldn't put the book down. First of all, I read it since Oprah recommended it. It just had to be good! And I was able to use the library, so I didn't have to commit to buying it! I have since "talked it up" to anyone who asks about it, so much so, that my mother-in-law has just put in a request to have me locate a large print version for her so she can keep it forever. (Yes, my word is golden). For some, I'm sure this book will not touch them as it did me, but my first "feel" for this man was watching him with my favorite actress, Katharine Hepburn, and from then on, he was a draw. This book gives a deeper "measure" of who Mr. Poitier is in the first person.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply one of the most candid and revealing autobiographies ever written. I own an original hard cover edition and it is one of my most treasured possesions. I learned so much about this remarkable man. His secret love affair with Diahann Carroll made me swoon! Its a love affair that deserves its own book or movie alone. Sidney Poitier captured me with his story. I'm a fan for life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book would have been a five star if he had not used one very offensive word all through the book. I have always liked his movies and admired him as a person. I will still watch his movies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful depiction and story of how he so humbly carries himself with such dignity and a sense of humility. Reading Sidneys' story help me to see appreciation and faith through a new lense.
BarmouthDragon More than 1 year ago
Breaking through all sorts of barriers, Poitier was the first black actor to win the Academy Award. The Measure of a Man sheds light on the much admired man who was born into poverty and emerged with a grace and dignity not often seen in Hollywood or among those who "make it." In reading this autobiography, his tone and style are easy and pleasant. Well worth reading and might I suggest as a gift for young people struggling with their own trials and challenges?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
¶ The Measure of a Man, by Sidney Poitier, is an interesting autobiography about his life growing up as an African-American in a world of prejudice. He doesn't experience racism until he moves to Nassau as a boy, and soon learns that he's on the bottom of the food chain. In order to work his way up, he must leave the Bahamas and move to the U.S and find work.
¶ In the U.S, Sidney soon learns that it is also difficult for people like him to find wealth, so he eventually finds a Negro acting guild. He eventually talks to the right agents, and finds himself a few plays.
¶ To be completely honest, this book just didn't capture my attention the whole way through. It was was awfully slow for me, and was a nonstop bore for many,many pages. I love the authors tone of writing, and the story of his life, but it didn't have much of a climax. This is only my opinion, so i still recommend the book to readers interested in Sidney Poitier and his life story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting
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READ
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YesterdayDreams More than 1 year ago
I Loved this Book.
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hearyehearye More than 1 year ago
Should be read by all - young and old.
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