The Measure Of A Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

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9780060197179: The Measure Of A Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

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. In The Measure of a Man, Sidney Poitier 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.

He 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.

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Review:

Sidney Poitier wrote The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography because he "felt called to write about certain values, such as integrity and commitment, faith and forgiveness, about the virtues of simplicity, about the difference between 'amusing ourselves to death' and finding meaningful pleasures--even joy." Yet Poitier's book does not speak from on high; its tone is conversational and endearingly self-critical. He begins the first chapter by recounting an evening spent channel-surfing and wondering, as most of us do at one time or another, "What am I doing with my time?" The spiritual reflections in The Measure of a Man are nonsectarian; Poitier's faith is clearly influenced by his experience in Christian churches, but he is not, strictly, Christian. Though idiosyncratic, his faith is disciplined and rigorous, informed by leaders as diverse as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Poitier's love--for himself, his family, and the world--infuses his recollections of his early life on Cat Island in the Bahamas and his memories of his stage and film career (including his Oscar-winning role in Lilies of the Field). Poitier has been rich and poor; he has been popular and despised; and his extremely varied experiences have made him a wise man, as he demonstrates with statements like this one: "[W]hat we do is stay within the context of what's practical, what's real, what dreams can be fashioned into reality, what values can send us to bed comfortably and make us courageous enough to face our end with character."

About the Author:

Born in Miami 1927 and raised in the Bahamas, Poitier began acting after the war, and soon made his debut in Hollywood with No Way Out. He became the first black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. In 1968 he was knighted by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II and is the recipient of four honorary doctorate degrees, the last from New York University. He has starred in over forty films, directed nine, and written four. He has received three Golden Globe Awards; an American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award; the Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, among many other awards and honors. In April 1997 Poitier was named the Ambassador to Japan from the Bahamas. Sir Poitier is currently president and CEO of Verdon Cedric Productions. He is married, has six daughters, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

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