One of America's great actors presents his life story, revealing the challenges he has faced and overcome, from his impoverished Mississippi childhood, through his years as a stutterer, to his artistic success
James Earl Jones, one of the great actors of our time, has joined forces with biographer-scholar Penelope Niven to write a moving and memorable book about his remarkable life - a life in which he has faced extraordinary challenges and reached new heights at every turn. Born in Mississippi, James Earl Jones came from a family of farmers and sharecroppers who lived twelve to a house. He was a shy boy who was raised by his grandparents; he spent much of his time in the fields alone.When his family moved from rural Mississippi to a farm in Michigan, the trauma of being uprooted triggered a stuttering, and he withdrew into silence, relinquishing the power of speech. Between the ages of ten and fourteen, he kept his entire world locked up inside himself. Encouraged by an English teacher and the music of poetry, he eventually reclaimed his voice and soon made his first tentative attempts at acting. He then moved to New York City, began to know his father, the actor Robert Earl Jones, and plunged into acting lessons himself. Within a few years, he had set off-Broadway afire with spectacular performances in Jean Genet's The Blacks and Athol Fugard's The Blood Knot. Critics referred to him as a "dynamo." His next stop was Broadway, where he rose to stardom in The Great White Hope, for which he won a Tony award. His performances were also nothing short of dazzling in Othello, Paul Robeson, and August Wilson's Fences, for which he won another Tony award. In recent years he has garnered tremendous acclaim for his roles in television and in movies such as Matewan, Field of Dreams, Coming to America, and Sommersby. James Earl Jones is currently recognized throughout the world for his unmistakable voice, but readers of this spellbinding account will discover him as a man of deep thought and silences as well.