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Publisher's 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

Critic Reviews

  • Grammy Award Winner, Best Spoken Word Album, 2002

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Cecil
  • Beaumont, TX, USA
  • 07-26-04

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Cynthia
  • Lake Linden , MI, USA
  • 03-18-03

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.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Geneva
  • Columbus, GA, USA
  • 08-21-04

Fantastic

Truly enjoyed hearing this title. Her voice inflections and tone added to the book's value for me. I appreciated hearing her honest depiction of life events. Maya Angelou's writing style allowed me to feel moments of joy and of pain.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Song flung up to heaven

If you could sum up A Song Flung Up to Heaven in three words, what would they be?

somber, gentle, heroic

What other book might you compare A Song Flung Up to Heaven to and why?

i know why the caged bird sings

What does Maya Angelou bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

her own word emphases, humor, joyful and sorrowful voice

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wonderfully written.

It is so marvellous to hear Ms. Angelina tell her own story. I read her autobiography previously. I saw her receiver the Presidential medal of honor on line. I fully understand why she is poetlauriet.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Astonishing

If you could sum up A Song Flung Up to Heaven in three words, what would they be?

What a life!

What did you like best about this story?

The description of historical events that she participated in before she was well known.

What does Maya Angelou bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The voices that she gives to her family members and to other people that she knew.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Her description of her reaction to Martin Luther King's assassination. She still seemed shaken by it.

Any additional comments?

I love reading Maya Angelou's books and always will. The audiobooks are a treat because they are in her voice, but I get more out of her books by reading and rereading them.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Simply Exceptional

Superb performance of a story of a remarkable woman told in the most poetic prose possible.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Inspiring look at the past

Reminiscences of her responses to the deaths of two great men and how they affected her life. Great story and a look back at a turbulent time in American history.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Maya Angelou, always inspiring!

Listening to Maya Angelou read her own book is an amazing adventure. She is educational & informational in an entertaining way!

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  • Performance
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Maya is awesome

Exactly what I needed to hear. She showed me that 40 is an awesome age to start my next chapter