Picture of author.

E. R. Braithwaite (1912–2016)

Autor(a) de To Sir, With Love

8+ Works 1,474 Membros 29 Reviews

About the Author

Eustace Edward Ricardo Braithwaite was born in Georgetown, British Guiana on June 27, 1912. He studied at Queen's College, Guyana and at the City College of New York. He moved to Britain after working at an oil refinery in Aruba. In 1940, he volunteered for service in the Royal Air Force. In 1949, mostrar mais he received a master's degree in physics from Cambridge University. From 1960 to 1963, he was a human-rights officer at the World Veterans Federation and from 1963 to 1966, he was a lecturer and education consultant at Unesco. From 1967 to 1969, he served as the first permanent representative of Guyana to the United Nations. He was later Guyana's ambassador to Venezuela. He taught at several universities including Howard University, New York University, and Florida State University. He wrote several books during his lifetime including Paid Servant, A Kind of Homecoming, Choice of Straws, Reluctant Neighbors, and Honorary White: A Visit to South Africa. To Sir, With Love, a memoir of teaching in London's deprived East End, was adapted into a film starring Sidney Poitier in 1967. He died on December 12, 2016 at the age of 104. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
Image credit: E.R. Braithwaite in the early 1960s.

Obras de E. R. Braithwaite

To Sir, With Love (1959) 1,275 cópias
Paid Servant (1962) 69 cópias
Reluctant Neighbours (1972) 40 cópias
Honorary White (1975) 38 cópias
Choice of Straws (1965) 24 cópias
A Kind of Homecoming (1962) 16 cópias

Associated Works


Conhecimento Comum

Outros nomes
Braithwaite, Eustace Edward Ricardo (birth name)
Braithwaite, Ricky
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
Georgetown, British Guiana
Local de falecimento
Rockville, Maryland, USA
Locais de residência
Georgetown, Guyana
New York, New York, USA
Cambridge, England, UK
London, England, UK
Washington, DC, USA
Gonville and Caius, Cambridge (MSc ∙ Phd ∙ Physics|1949)
City College of New York
social worker
United Nations
Howard University
World Veterans Federation
Royal Air Force
Cacique Crown of Honour (2012)
Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (1961)
Pequena biografia
Edward Ricardo Braithwaite (born June 27, 1912 in Georgetown, Guyana) is a Guyanese novelist, writer, teacher, and diplomat, best known for his partially autobiographical accounts of his career experiences as a highly educated black man in a range of public service and professional roles. Braithwaite had a privileged beginning in life: both his parents went to Oxford University and he describes growing up with education, achievement, and parental pride surrounding him. He attended Queen's College, Guyana and then the City College of New York (1940). During World War II, he joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot - he would later describe this experience as one where he had felt no discrimination based on his skin colour or ethnicity. He went on to attend the University of Cambridge (1949), from which he earned a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in physics. After the war, like many other ethnic minorities, despite his extensive training, Braithwaite could not find work in his field and, disillusioned, reluctantly took up a job as a schoolteacher in the East End of London. The book To Sir, With Love (1959) was based on his experiences there. While writing his book about the school, Braithwaite turned to social work and it became his job to find foster homes for non-white children for the London County Council. His harrowing experiences resulted in his second novel Paid Servant (1962). Braithwaite's numerous writings have primarily dealt with the difficulties of being an educated black man, a black social worker, a black teacher, and simply a human being in inhumane circumstances. In 1973, the South African ban on Braithwaite's books was lifted and he reluctantly applied to visit the country. He was granted a visa and the status 'Honorary White' which gave him significantly more freedom and privileges than the indigenous black population, but less than the whites. He recorded the experiences and horror he witnessed during the six weeks he spent in South Africa in Honorary White. Braithwaite continued to write novels and short stories throughout his long international career as an educational consultant and lecturer for UNESCO; permanent representative to the United Nations for Guyana; Guyana's ambassador to Venezuela; and academic. He taught English studies at New York University; in 2002, was writer in residence at Howard University, Washington, D.C.; associated himself with Manchester Community College, Connecticut, during the 2005-2006 academic year as visiting professor, also serving as commencement speaker and receiving an honorary degree.



First sentence: The crowded red double-decker bus inched its way through the snarl of traffic in Aldgate. It was almost as if it was reluctant to get rid of the overload of noisy, earthy charwomen it had collected on its run through the city--thick-armed, bovine women, huge-breasted, with heavy bodies irrevocably distorted by frequent childbearing, faces pink and slightly damp from their early labors, the warm May morning and their own energy.

Premise/plot: Historical fiction/autobiographical novel. Set in the East End (I believe) of London during the mid/late 1940s. [I *want* to say that the year 1947 was used???] Mr. Braithwaite doesn't want to be a teacher. He really doesn't. But with limited opportunities for employment--complicated in part by the color of his skin--he accepts the job reluctantly and with some bitterness. [In the movie, the bitterness was disguised much more. Here the text ripples with anger, bitterness, dare I say hate???] He doesn't seem to enjoy teaching, for the most part, or like most of his coworkers [with the exception of a few], and he definitely doesn't enjoy being around his students--not really. But over the course of a year--a little less than a year--he comes to better terms with his life. I wouldn't say he ever comes to love it though.

My thoughts: The book may be a thousand times truer to life. But. I will always prefer the movie. I knew a little of what to expect from watching the movie, but, nothing really prepared me for the author's narrative style. It was a little earthy/crude for my personal taste. [Like did every thought the teacher had about breasts have to be included??? Like noticing his students, coworkers, fellow bus riders, etc.] It is definitely a race book--for better or worse. He felt less discriminated against during the war, and settling back down he was unprepared for how much prejudice he would [still] encounter in his day to day life. He does date one of his white coworkers--a fellow teacher--and the two do face some problems.
… (mais)
blbooks | outras 27 resenhas | Jan 9, 2023 |
Good teaching / students in poor London area story. Read it after seeing movie.
kslade | outras 27 resenhas | Dec 8, 2022 |
Okay, seriously? My fourth one-star rating in a row as of recently? I am going to sit down and read my favorite book soon, to clear my mind of bad books and remind myself good ones await me. I am listening to Enya's "A Day Without Rain" album to soothe my crankiness, even.

I tried to read this when I was eleven. I read anything I could get my hands on. I vaguely understood it. My aunt brought the movie over, and I understood that a lot more clearly. Twenty years later, I saw tons and tons of ads for a romance with a strikingly similar name, and wondered if it had been re-released. I was curious to learn if I'd think differently of the book as an adult. I did.
This is a memoir that was published in 1959. It takes place in 1950s England. There's many references to WWII and its effects. So I'd consider this also classic literature: it being published more than sixty years ago. If this were a novel, my review would continue henceforth: "I'm not one for classic literature. The first fifty pages could have easily been cut. The plot was boring and predictable. It was undoubtedly revolutionary for its time in terms of race relations, plot, and reflections on racism." But this is a memoir, so...this guy has a -lot- of inner monologue and he goes on and on, especially when describing how people look and sound. There's an enormous amount of misogyny in this. I don't care that it was probably very typical for the time period. It was awful to read, and to have a teacher freely announce he thought that way of his students especially. Sir refers to his female students as sluts and women around him--ones who ride the same bus, ones who are more senior in teaching, just women in general--as bitches. He drools over several female students while simultaneously despising how they dress. So, he's got a massive madonna/whore complex. Towards girls he has power over. Who haven't even finished puberty yet. GROSS. One student wears a gray sweater regularly and no bra, and Sir cannot shut up internally about her greasy sweater and huge, wobbly breasts. She's probably too poor to have a bra, weirdo. When it's hard to put food on the table, water and electricity aren't always manageable, either. I had to make these choices for a long time until I went on a bunch of welfare by moving to a different city. Now I'm being kicked off some of it and will have to make those decisions all over again. Sir would yap at me inwardly too, certainly.

Sir describes everyone ever in ways I find odd. He teaches typical teenagers and is offended by this, and by their grinding poverty over which they have no control. They're trashy, though, and have terrible manners, which he sets out to correct while mentally calling them horrible names. If this were a novel, I'd call him a Gary Stu: he's rude to students, considers many other senior teachers beneath him, is hired on the spot, was trained in an entirely different field, can't stand teenagers or poor people; and is still praised and turns the kids' lives around. Perhaps his arrogance and condescension are defense mechanisms against the racism and hardships he does face. It's increasingly grating to read on the page, though. The movie cuts a bunch of this--his inner monologue that makes up 80% of the book is dropped, and he's just a stern teacher, not a creep. The adaptation does a great job with the action in the book, or what little there is. Watch it instead of reading the thoughts of a creepy, bitter teacher.
… (mais)
iszevthere | outras 27 resenhas | Jul 11, 2022 |
You know those American films about the white female teacher who goes and teaches at some rough disadvantaged inner-city school full of Black/minority kids with attitude and disrespect towards authority, and somehow she connects with them and changes their attitude and they all become starry-eyed students grateful for her guidance?

Well, this is the same story, but with a black British Guiana male teacher teaching at a tough East End school, with the complexities of the racial barriers being re-raised now that WWII is over.

On the one hand, it is very well done the way we are just told of the racism the protagonist encounters and - without further discussion - the compounded secondary racism from the underlying tensions and condescension around how the white characters thought he should handle these encounters.

On the other hand, it's another extremely idealistic story of the inexperienced saviour-teacher who somehow succeeded where more experienced teachers have failed because they are all just too jaded to care anymore.

Great thought-provoking themes albeit with very worn teacher tropes.
… (mais)
kitzyl | outras 27 resenhas | Feb 8, 2022 |



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