The Measure of A Man

The Measure of A Man

A Spiritual Autobiography

Book - 2000
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Baker & Taylor
The acclaimed actor reveals the passion, spirituality, and intellectual fervor that have driven his life and career, citing the elements of his childhood that gave him his sense of worth and ethics.

HARPERCOLL

"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 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 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 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 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 sacrifice and commitment, 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.



Publisher: San Francisco, CA : HarperSanFrancisco, c2000
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061357909
0061357901
9780062516084
0062516086
9780062516077
0062516078
Characteristics: xiii, 255 p., [8] p. of plates : ill ; 25 cm

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Fontaine1
Mar 20, 2017

The Measure of a man has a beautiful tone, and is like an old friend describing personal stories, anecdotes and life experiences and it is this gentle flow which ultimately makes the book hard to put down.
The first section which charts Poitier's idyllic, carefree childhood on Cat Island, Barbados is very well written. One of the strengths of the overall book is how he shows that this start along with a disciplined family life, is what allowed him to withstand much of the racism he later encountered in Miami and New York.
The book triumphs in this area, as it shows that with a deep-seated self-assurance Poitier simply refused to accept the negative portrayal of black people, which was often thrust upon him. This was also true of his career, where he chose only to accept roles portraying characters with a strong sense of personal integrity.
The book does have some shortcomings, particularly where Poitier fails to fully discuss his part in the failure of his first marriage. I also thought the last chapters were weak, as he tried to grapple with some very complex philosophical questions around the human condition.
However despite this, in my opinion The Measure of a Man is an intriguing memoir, providing an insight into a unique man and his place in the world.

s
sweetonxoxos
Dec 13, 2015

I could not put this book down.... Sydney talks intimately about experiences, thoughts and feelings that come straight from his gut, from the time he was a boy to where he is at today... If you are a fan, of Sidney, this is an excellent read!!

t
tavkaa
Aug 09, 2014

A very fascinating account of his life from remote Island to Florida to New York. I found it inspiring how he handled being an "outsider" in more ways than one. His philosophy is something all young men can find helpful. He sets up the events and explains his internal processing that draws you into his conscious process. He is definitely a hero in his renderings of civil rights. A good read.

umarcarter Mar 07, 2012

One of the most memorable books I have read to date.

g
graceness
Jan 31, 2011

Reading Mr. Poitier's poignant and raw autobiography was like listening to stories of my own father growing up. His life is compelling and he has some fantastic anecdotes and stories of his long struggle and climb to his current position.

e
efritz
Mar 26, 2010

Inspiring look at Sidney Poitier's incredible life from his early beginning coming to America and establishing his craft as an Academy Award winning actor.

m
mvincelli
Mar 07, 2010

Read half.

c
Cabby
Nov 04, 2007

I think he comes across like a sociopath.

a
AnamCara
Nov 02, 2007

Poitier shows how he changed the direction of his life despite barriers and how it turned him into the man that he is now.

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