carol edson, January 28, 2012 (view all comments by carol edson)
This book covers the life of Harry Belafonte while also chronicling the Civil Rights movement in America. I found it fascinating, from the many insights into how the decisions were made behind the scenes to the roles luck and serendipity played. The perception I had as a child during this period was that it was all well orchestrated and organized...without realizing at all how scary, uncertain and confused it was as well. The level of danger involved is made vividly clear, and the role of music in pulling people together is also explained. Harry has a wonderful singing voice, and now also a wonderful speaking voice as he illuminates his life from difficult childhood spent in several countries, to handsome young calypso star, to political activist.
RussC, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by RussC)
What a fascinating, compelling memoir! Harry Belafonte has and is living a life in which he gives so much of himself at an enormous personal cost to the civil rights movement, political activism and other social causes. Mr. Belafonte is so much more than the surface image of a popular singer and entertainer that most people have regarding the man. A must read about an extraordinary man.
Sharon Monsey, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Sharon Monsey)
Harry Belfonte is a true (and worthy) American icon. His remarkble story is told with grace and eloquence, taking us with him through tumultuous times and giving us an inside look st some of America's bravest and brashest leaders. His dedicstion to social snd political activism is admirable. He is still thst fervent activist, and his story makes us want to be better citizens and humans.
Knopf Publishing Group -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Belafonte, actor and activist, whose voice is known to millions for his opening line, 'Day-O!' to 'The Banana Boat Song,' stepped out of a life of poverty and up to a microphone in the late 1940s, launching a brilliant career as a singer, actor, and activist. With lyrical grace, he chronicles his life from early childhood — where a violent father made life difficult for him, his brother, and his mother — and his first singing engagements, to the difficulties in his own marriages, the grueling life on the show circuit, and his later involvement in the civil rights movement and other social causes. After his hitch in the service, he enrolls in acting lessons with the American Negro Theater, where he meets his life-long friend, Sidney Poitier, and numerous other influential black actors. On a cold January night in 1949, the owner of the Royal Roost night club in New York asks Belafonte to sing a few numbers during intermission for Lester Young's band; astonished and anxious, the young singer steps onto the stage and finds himself backed by Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Al Haig, and Tommy Potter, four of jazz's greatest musicians, and his musical career takes off. These musicians' generosity instill the same compassion in him, and his encounter with great concert singer, athlete, and actor Paul Robeson teaches him that he can use his music and his concerts as pulpits for important causes. Belafonte sometimes exhausts with too many details, but he mostly carries us liltingly along with his song that the best times always lie ahead as long as we take care of each other." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Harry Belafonte, American icon and one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century, tells the story of his amazing life. For the first time, this extraordinary icon discusses it all, from his poverty-ridden early childhood in Harlem, to his glamorous rise to become the world's most popular singer, to his committed, lifelong involvement with countless political and social causes.
Harry Belafonte is not just one of the greatest entertainers of our time; he has led one of the great American lives of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Now, at last, this extraordinary icon tells us about it all—his poverty-ridden childhoodin Harlem and Jamaica; his meteoric rise to become one of the world’s most popular singers, breaking down racial barriers that no one had broken before, achieving equal popularity with white and black audiences; his lifelong, passionate involvement at the heart of the civil rights movement and countless other political and social causes. Along the way he’s befriended many beloved and important figures in both entertainment and politics—Paul Robeson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sidney Poitier, John F. Kennedy, Marlon Brando, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro—and writes about them with the same exceptional candor and insight with which he reveals himself on every page.
As both an artist and an activist, Belafonte has touched the lives of countless men and women. With My Song, he has found yet another way to entertain and inspire us. It is an electrifying memoir from a remarkable man.
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