MR. T: The Man with the Gold by Mr. T

MR. T: The Man with the Gold

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From Chicago poverty to TV stardom--as told by the man himself (""without a ghostwriter""), in a feverish mixture of black pride, black anger, delusions of grandeur, religion and violence, bitterness and righteous uplift. ""I will guarantee that when you finish this book you will owe me an apology. Because so many of you see me as a big, black, strong, musclebound nigger, who is mean, mad, angry, hateful, vengeful, cocky and arrogant. Which is all untrue."" Instead, Mr. T sees himself as a sort of prophet--""I come maybe not exactly like John the Baptist or Moses, but I come""--whose rise will inspire other disadvantaged kids to follow his example. Born Lawrence Tero in 1952, Mr. T was one of twelve children; his father was a minister/junkman who abandoned the family so they could get Welfare money; he grew up hungry in the Chicago ""projects,"" where Mr. T and his brothers responded to the constant violence with prideful vengeance, even--it's coyly implied--the murder of ""two niggers who robbed and threatened to kill my mother."" (""That's why the projects are built for blacks. . . so they can kill each other!"") Thanks to high-school sports, however, Mr. T stayed out of major trouble; his college-football years were abruptly shortened by his outspoken, rebellious ways. So he became a social-worker/gym-teacher, then a professional bodyguard, and finally a notorious disco bouncer--with the televised America's Toughest Bouncer contest leading him to Rocky III and The A-Team. Along the way, Mr. T lambasts the juvenile justice system; he goes into great detail about his years as bodyguard to Leon Spinks (ruined by drugs, booze, ""too much partying and too little training""); he celebrates God over Money, rails at the uncaring rich, and defends his 1972 name change--made because ""I got tired of white people calling me 'boy.'"" (""And what about Pope John Paul II? Nobody asks him, 'What's your real name, Pope?' "") Grittily absorbing in parts, tedious and repetitious in others--with some half-laudable, half-dangerous sermons for the many young Mr. T fans.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's