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The Measure Of A Man: A Memoir
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Sidney Poitier has starred in more that 40 films, directed nine and written four. His landmark films include A PATCH OF BLUE, LILIES OF THE FIELD (for which he won an Oscar), GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT and TO SIR, WITH LOVE.

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Readers seeking the usual ego-filled movie-star autobiography full of `I met these people' and `I won these awards', will be hugely disappointed with The Measure of a Man. Poitier wrote that story years ago. As the subtitle suggests, this memoir from the now 72-year-old star is more a journey in life philosophy. As he puts it: `I wanted to find out ... how well I've done at measuring up to the values I espouse, the standards I myself have set'. The result is impressive and thought-provoking. Poitier quickly glosses over the movies that made him a household name, using them - together with the story of his parents and his impoverished childhood in the Bahamas - as a context for his ideas on responsibility, success, race and parenting. Chapters dealing with his real-life role as an unintentional African-American icon during the entire civil rights period are particularly insightful. Whilst black students were rioting, Poitier was considered an `Uncle Tom' for playing roles like the young doctor in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? - unthreatening characters for white audiences, who fulfilled white liberal fantasies. This impressive and well-written rumination will no doubt satisfy all readers, movie fans or not, who have an interest in self-improvement, family, philosophy or civil rights. According to Poitier the `measure of a man' is the legacy he leaves his children. Poitier scores a 10. Scott Whitmont is the owner of Lindfield Bookshop. C. 2000 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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