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Book Beat: The Measure of a Man

Book Beat: The Measure of a Man

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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The Measure of a Man a spiritual autobiography by Sidney Poitier

What an interesting and elegant book, in many ways exactly what you might expect from legendary actor Sidney Poitier. But surprising too, in some of its details and writing style. For instance, I didn't know that Sidney Poitier had such a checkered past, that he admits to lying and cheating and stealing in his youth, that he struggled so mightily at various times in his life with anger. And the style is surprising in how conversational it is. I expected eloquence. I didn't expect all the "do you know what I mean's."

Poitier speaks at length about his childhood growing up on a small island in the Bahamas. He honors his mother and his father. The title comes from his father, who believed that the true measure of a man was how he provides for his family.

Poitier discusses race in such a captivating way. He did not realize it was an issue early in his life, growing up as he did in a simple and sparsely populated place. It was only when he came to Miami that he experienced people telling him what he could and could not do because he was black. He began to feel shock and anger, and eventually decided to stop proving to everyone he was as good as a white man. He wanted to prove to them that he was better.

This, in his words, arrogance shaped many of his experiences in life. His powerful sense of self-esteem informed his acting and his living. The book is worth it for the stories of working with Tracy and Hepburn alone. A must read for movie buffs and autobiography lovers. The Measure of a Man, but Sidney Poitier. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio, I'm Amanda Dickson.

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