Summary

The culmination of a unique achievement in modern American literature: the six volumes of autobiography that began more than thirty years ago with the appearance of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. A Song Flung Up to Heaven opens as Maya Angelou returns from Africa to the United States to work with Malcolm X. But first she has to journey to California to be reunited with her mother and brother. No sooner does she arrive there than she learns that Malcolm X has been assassinated.
Devastated, she tries to put her life back together, working on the stage in local theaters and even conducting a door-to-door survey in Watts. Then Watts explodes in violence, a riot she describes firsthand.
Subsequently, on a trip to New York, she meets Martin Luther King, Jr., who asks her to become his coordinator in the North, and she visits black churches all over America to help support King's Poor People's March.
But once again tragedy strikes. King is assassinated, and this time Angelou completely withdraws from the world, unable to deal with this horrible event. Finally, James Baldwin forces her out of isolation and insists that she accompany him to a dinner party - where the idea for writing I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is born. In fact, A Song Flung Up to Heaven ends as Maya Angelou begins to write the first sentences of Caged Bird.
©2002 Maya Angelou (P)2002 Random House Inc., Random House Voices, an Imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group
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Grammy Award Winner, Best Spoken Word Album, 2002

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Cecil on 26-07-04

Being there is part of the strength of this book.

This wonderful woman knew and helped and was helped by three of the now dead heroes of my youth--James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. And she was in Watts interviewing housewives for a marketing company when the citizens started burning and looting the stores. In short, she was intimately involved in many major events of our recent past; she knew both the leaders and the followers and has the skill as a writer to tell us how she and they reacted to those events. In addition, she has a great voice (she also sang professionally), which she uses to fine effect as the reader of her own book. Paraphrasing Holden Caulfield, I just wish I could call her up and ask her what's been happening lately. Buy this audio book; listen to her; you'll feel like you've been blessed for having done so.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Cynthia on 18-03-03

best book I have listened to

This was excellent. It is amazing the various things Angelou has done. Having her read it was so neat. She is interesting whether she is talking about family interactions, setting up for job and living in a new city, or very dramatic historic events such as Watts explosions.

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16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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