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Publisher's Summary

Maya Angelou's six volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy, achievement and celebration.

In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother's lover.

'I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it's like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again' Maya Angelou

©1969 Maya Angelou (renewed 1997) (P)2011 Random House Inc

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Tessa Hancock
  • 03-12-15

Such perfect diction and attention to detail

Having read Maya's books myself thirty years ago, it was one of the first audiobooks I bought to listen to on my iPad ,now in my seventies, and I have been delighted to listen to Maya's perfect diction and wonderful attention to the details of The English language , a rare treat these days of sloppy Americanisms and ubiquitous estuarine accent. Her accent and diction immediately add local colour to her story of hardship growing up as a negro child in the Deep South of early twentieth century America in the time of segregation and the Great Depression.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • S Morris
  • 09-13-16

My favourite book

I've loved this (the first book in maya angelous autobiography) since childhood. So, I purchased this from audible to listen and experience the story over again. It is narrated by Maya Angelou and very enjoyable. The story is deep and rich. A must read.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Kat
  • 01-19-16

Great Book Read by A Great Woman

Can't believe it's taken me this many years to read this book. What an interesting story that only goes up to her teens. Can't wait to read the books that follow.

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  • Tea Jenny
  • 06-07-15

Absolutely amazing

This was a fantastic listen , read by the author . Full of wisdom and beautiful writing . I shall listen to it again for sure .
Some wonderful quotes to meditate upon . The book really picks up pace in the second half .
Inspiring . Absolutely amazing .

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  • Smith
  • 09-08-17

Honest

I read this book some 30 years ago. To hear the story so many years later in Maya Angelous voice was truly amazing. I feel I've been given a gift by her for which I say thank you.

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  • Sue Jackson
  • 03-18-16

Excellent chance to read this autobiography!!

Would you listen to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings again? Why?

Not this one but other books of Maya Angelou's, yes :)

Who was your favorite character and why?

Marguerite/Maya, coz she's an inspiration!

Which character – as performed by Maya Angelou – was your favourite?

Herself

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

All but it was a real eye opener 're segregation in the South, only Vanilla ice cream allowed on Fourth July to black people , really!!! :(

Any additional comments?

Will read more of her .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Leya
  • 07-24-15

Fascinating, insightful, and a total must

This is an amazing book. It is not only a picture of southern Black life in 1930s America but a very personal account of a troubled and brave childhood.

She writes with warm, flowing language rich with colour and texture. Maya Angelou can make you understand all the hardship she, and many like her, went through because of her colour, age and gender without ever indulging in self pitty. I loved it.

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  • Husnaa
  • 08-01-18

encouraging and inspirational

great story, did struggle to finish it. inpirational of what she accomplished going through hardship.

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  • Mrs W.
  • 06-08-18

Very touching and insightful. 5 stars

What a great book, it shows the strength, passion and dignity African Americans facing vile racism showed seen through the eyes of a child. Maya reads this poignant tale herself (quick tip though, put the speed on 1.25x) her delivery is brave and moving.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in US history, to see what it was like during the depression.

The most telling aspect for me is the strict rule African American lived by and how they raised their children to love God. I'm not religious myself, but can appreciate how much strength it took to be compassionate to those who viscously abuse you, just for the colour of your skin.

As a parent, I'd rather my own children were more like Marguerite and Bailey than the dirty, disrespectful "white trash" kids allowed to run feral.

Reminded me of To Kill A Mockingbird another fantastic book.

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  • ZedBooks
  • 05-05-18

PURE POETRY!

Moving and informative and full of affirmation of the human spirit that allowed someone to transcend the prejudice and naked hatred that faced African Americans in the 30s and 40s

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-06-18

Just beautiful

To hear Maya’s life journey in her spoken words is wonderful. Her voice carries each word perfectly and adds an extra personal touch of her character to the book. Inspiring!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-20-18

Great book

Love Maya's story and her journey. What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing it with the world.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-21-18

very enjoyable & educational

very enjoyable and educational. reveling the untold truth. now I know why people do what they do even though I might think differently. understanding the differences in empowering & healing.

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  • Debbie Walsh
  • 12-05-17

Couldn't put it down!

What an amazing storyteller. Made all the more fascinating by the fact that its true.

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  • Brigid
  • 07-27-17

Read by Maya Angelou, what more could you ask for?

What did you like most about I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?

To have the author and main character herself read the book made the experience so personal. It is such an important insight into her life and the lives of millions which is as relevant today as it was when it came out.

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  • Jacimac
  • 12-17-16

Poignant story of young black girl

Brought up in the southern states in the 1930/40s , and experiencing a disjointed childhood with both love and abuse, Maya becomes a woman. Narrated beautifully by the writer herself . I highly recommend this poetic coming of age book. I am off to look for more writing by this author now.

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  • C
  • 06-18-15

A classic narrative

This is a profoundly moving ,insightful and entertaining narrative and an eloquent and subtle book

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  • BERIS
  • 05-30-15

great author.

I have learnt so much about that time period. It gives an insight to a lovely soul who handles hardship with such forgiveness.

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  • Michael
  • 05-23-15

Always good to hear a book read by the author.

Well written, an important book to read. Unfortunately can't find the next one on Audible.