A Hungry Heart: A Memoir

Gordon Parks, Jr., Author . Atria $26 (128p) ISBN 978-0-7432-7962-8

At 90, Parks can look back on his life with considerable pride. He sought and won acclaim as a photographer, film director, composer, author and poet. An African-American who challenged and recorded the horrors of bigotry, Parks, a longtime staffer of Life magazine, has led a remarkable life—and his memoir reads like a journey through most of 20th-century America. From his Kansas youth to his assignments shooting everything from Paris fashions to Malcolm X, Parks treats readers to an insider look at history, war and politics. En route, we learn of his struggles, including three failed marriages. He doesn't spare himself, yet renders personal details with gentlemanly restraint. Above all, his deep commitment to work, for Vogue , Life and Hollywood, is clear. Whether telling of dodging death threats as a black photojournalist documenting the civil rights struggle in the 1960s, directing Shaft or producing moving photo essays on Harlem families, Parks's eye for irony never falters. Describing himself as "a hopeless romantic with a sense of adventure," Parks is rightfully harsh in his condemnation of racism but grateful to supportive whites who supplied critical career breaks. This work is a fitting tribute to a driven man whose life story is as absorbing as his work. Agent, Sterling Lord. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/10/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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