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Valerie E. Patterson
5.0 out of 5 starsRead this memoir!!!!!
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2019
Amazing retrospective of the life of Mr. Harry Belafonte. I started to read this book as I was preparing my notes to lead a discussion on the movie Carmen Jones. The complexities and layers of his life are astounding. His contributions to civil and human rights are more amazing than I realized. I learned so much about Mr. Belafonte from this book, and it elevated my understanding of the importance and power of connecting art and advocacy. He's made a contribution that can never be repaid. This engaging memoir reveals the uniqueness and magnitude of his contribution on a global scale. Great recollection of an important history!!!!!
5.0 out of 5 starsOh My Goodness He's a Great Man!!
Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2021
I learned more from this book about the civil rights movement than I'd learned anywhere else. Belafonte is absolutely amazing. He's extremely intelligent, extremely well informed, extremely generous with his time and money, and a passionate activist. He has known so many people of power in his lifetime.
And to think he started out growing up in the Caribbean living in poverty, then went on to become a great singer and actor but also one of the most powerful voices and activists in the civil rights, anti poverty, and justice movements. I think everyone should read this book.
5.0 out of 5 starsOutstanding story about this memorable entertainer and activist
Reviewed in the United States on January 22, 2013
I've been a Harry Belafonte fan for decades, probably ever since "Day-O" became an oft-repeated phrase about 5+ decades ago. Many people know well his songs, movie roles, and still-going entertainment career. But far fewer are aware of how involved and important he was with the civil rights movement. This book tells Harry's story from when he was a child (a rough experience), how he got involved with music and show biz, the segregation he constantly ran into, plus all his relationships and actions with key black figures such as Paul Robeson, Sydney Poitier, Martin Luther King, etc. One that people might vividly recall, where he was the prime pusher, is the 1985 "We are the world" song with many key players (e.g., Michael Jackson),entertainers and others, that was a huge worldwide success and major factor in helping Africa overcome a devastating famine. Many pictures add much to this excellent book. (FYI I had a slight linkage to the year 1968, when MLK was killed, as noted in my book "On the road in '68: a year of turmoil, a journey of friendship.")
4.0 out of 5 starsA Hero who is so much more than just the songs he sang
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2015
As a Canadian, I had no idea that Mr Belafonte was in the forefront of the Civil Rights movement. Recently, I felt it was a disgrace that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences did not honor him with the Jean Hersholdt Award in front of the entire world but in a 'private' moment elsewhere. He deserved more recognition for his film & entertainment work as well as his worldwide charity work for the United Nations. His book is a history of America and the part that many played in it….I thank him for his love and his efforts…I grew up loving his voice….now, six decades later…I love him for his humanity… Read his book…you'll learn so much about the the United States…Harry, Danny Kaye, Audrey Hepburn…these people are amazing…Angelina Jolie follows in their footsteps today…so too Sean Penn and George Clooney…these are all wonderful people who had a great leader to show the way to be caring citizens of the world
Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2012
For those who have read Taylor Branch's trilogy on the history of the civil rights movement, My Song is an excellent and uplifting book that illuminates much more than the story of one man's contribution to our nation's history. And for those who aren't familiar with Branch's work, reading My Song might compel you to read more about the history Belafonte helped shape.
It is wrong to categorize this autobiography among the self-indulgent "books" written by too many persons in the world of entertainment (I'm still scarred by the experience of trying to trudge through Quincy Jones' narcissistic love letter to himself and have avoided these types of books like the plague). Harry Belafonte is so much more than an entertainer. Indeed, as he makes clear throughout, his celebrity gave him the means to focus his anger about racism, Jim Crow, and injustice throughout the world in constructive ways that have changed our world for the better.
Belofonte was born at the right time. He engaged in the fundamental issues dear to him and was able to exploit his talents unlike anyone before, and inspired the activism of celebrities in later generations. And we should never forget his talent and devotion to making the music of struggle and hope available and relevant to us all. This autobiography elevates our knowledge about the stories behind so many of the fundamental struggles of our age. I've listened to my Belafonte records with a depth of appreciation I never understood fully until I read My Song.
4.0 out of 5 starsMy thoughts on Harry Belafonte's Memoir
Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2020
A compelling story. I was immediately enthralled at the first page. I can not say that I left the book a die-hard fan of Mr. Belafonte. He did some great things in his life which I am grateful, but I found his writing voice telling -too telling. His book seemed to have a gossipy way that Memoirs don't necessarily need. Anyway, not the most comfortable read for me, but we'll written and I do recommend it.
4.0 out of 5 starsFriedens-Nobelpreis für Belafonte!
Reviewed in Germany on November 30, 2013
Nach der Lektüre dieses überaus interessanten Buches möchte man Harry Belafonte für den Friedens-Nobelpreis vorschlagen. Da Belafonte aber vor allem im Hintergrund gewirkt hat, wird ihm dieser wohl verwehrt bleiben. Wer vor allem mehr über Belafontes Musik erfahren will, kommt etwas zu kurz, seine Karriere war ihm offenbar selber nicht so wichtig.
I have been a Belafonte fan all my life. I was delighted that Mr. Belafonte had finally written his autobiography. Mr. Belafonte's inside knowledge of the Civil Rights movement in the '50's and '60's was very revealing. Because he lived it. I learned more about this movement than from anything else I have read or seen on TV. This is really worth the read. I highly recommend it.