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A Song Flung Up to Heaven (Maya Angelou's Autobiography #6)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  1,104 ratings  ·  86 reviews
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 he
Paperback, 210 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2002)
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Reading a Maya Angelou autobiography immediately after Richard Dawkins’s Appetite for Wonder is sort of like having a delicious dessert after a mediocre and overpriced meal. Not that Appetite for Wonder was terrible; it just wasn’t good. It was what you fear autobiographies might be: self-indulgent, full of name-dropping, rarely relatable, and boring except to friends. A Song Flung Up to Heaven was refreshing in its beauty and honest painting of real people. Although I suppose it’s a bit unfair ...more
Mary-Ellen Lynn
A Song Flung Up to Heaven is the sixth and final instalment of Maya's six-part autobiography, spanning the years 1964-1968. It is a heart-rending volume. It begins on her return to the US after years in Ghana, where her son has chosen to stay behind. Part of her reason for leaving is to put distance between herself and her husbad; referred to as "the African", he emblematises every mistaken choice of lover a woman could make. She returns to America to join her friend, Malcolm X, in creating an O ...more
As readers I think it's easy to fall into reading only specific genres. As a gay white man I tend to read gay white men fiction. But books are not only for escapism but also for education. So, every February, I attempt to read something about African-American culture. For the past 5 years I have read the autobiographies of Maya Angelou. This February is a little bitter sweet because I've finished her 6th and I know that she's no longer around to entertain and enlighten me through her words.

A Son
This will be more meaningful and enjoyable for people if they've read all her previous autobiographies in the series. Pretty astounding to know she was about to start doing work for Malcolm X, and then Martin Luther King, Jr. before they both died. I liked that it was a social commentary, being as honest as ever, without leaving the reader totally depressed and hopeless.

I also just had to share this quote (below.) She is describing a black lower-class neighborhood called Watts, near Los Angeles
Yeah, I've finished Maya Angelou's autobiography series. It's been a fascinating ride. In some ways it feels strange that she decides to end her autobiography with her turning forty - what about the next forty years?! But this book ends with her being asked to write her autobiography, so I suppose it's come full circle in a way. The writing's good, the book is interesting, but I don't think this is the best of her books, and it feels a bit more like a collection of anecdotes and experiences from ...more
Recently, I heard Maya Angelou say that easy reading is hard writing. This book was such an easy read. And when I say easy, I mean easy to read for my stay-at-home mom lifestyle. I rarely have a moment to myself, so I am not sure how I finished this book in a matter of sittings. I appreciated the concise but rich and even poetic chapters about Maya's life and affiliations with such figures as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and James "Jimmy" Baldwin. It's adorable to see such a distinguished ...more
Patricia L Graham
This is a snappy autobiographical read across the life and historical events which impacted a country, the world and this gracious author’s life. I would normally stop there, but Maya deserves more from me than this.

Seen through the time capsule eyes of a single mother, estranged from her only child, estranged from love, dancing, singing, drifting from job to job. Maya shares observations and feelings as she trundles on with her seemingly directionless life, yet being in association with so many
This is my first Angelou book/memoir and I'm realizing now, after reading other Goodreads reviews, that I have started at the end. There are five previous memoirs of Angelou's life, starting with I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings. Have placed the other five on my to-read list! This memoir starts when Angelou leaves Ghana and heads home, intending to work with Malcolm X after a brief visit to her mother and beloved brother in San Francisco. I found it incredibly interesting because of the tense and ...more
Kathryn Klose
Her inspiring journey continues

Dr. Angelou's authentically loving, American voice spoke straight to me first in "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings". I was deeply moved as I watched and listened during President Clinton's inauguration. I absorbed these and then the next four books of her autobiography while living across the Atlantic. She helped to close that geographical and emotional gap at a critical point in my life.

In "A Song Flung Up To Heaven", her journey continues, and my memories of the
When I reach for a Maya Angelou book, I do so because her thoughts center me. I think I have heard what she has to say and more of her story is likely more of what I already know. Yet, upon reading, I am always hearing new things from her. And I appreciate that she shares her mother's advice on living.

This book is about the year's after her return from Ghana. The leaving of her African love, her son's rebellious teen years, her involvement in US African-American civil rights, and "where she was"
wonderful and a joy to read
Read 6/2009). This is the final book in her autobiographical series (6 of 6) that begins with "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." This book begins where number five left off: she returns home to the US after living in Africa for several years. A very brief recap that is basically the same as the end of "All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes" begins this work.

A great deal of this book is Maya beset by tragedy and learning from it, something we all do or should do, as these unpleasant events in o
Ellyn Oaksmith
This book, the last in her anthology, covers the time period between coming back from Africa and the starting of her book, To Kill a Mockingbird. As a writer, this is a terrible thing to do but I am ranking her books, in preference, in my head, since I re-read them all at once. I suppose the ranking has more to do with what's in my head rather than what is in her life but I found the books that had more success and joy more enjoyable. I suppose this makes me a traditionalist although To Kill a M ...more
Several years ago I read the first 5 parts of Maya Angelou's autobiography and was not aware that there was a sixth. Having recently discovered my mistake I hastily acquired the sixth volume and am thrilled that I did. It is just full of the warmth that is Maya Angelou. For the me the following sums up the book and Maya Angelou.

The following takes place very soon after the shocking news of the death of Martin Luther King jr.

"Jimmy (Baldwin) said "We survived slavery. Think about that. Not becaus
Anna Maria
Having read and liked "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", and encouraged by others' good reviews, I selected this book, without realizing it was the sixth in a series. Had I read them in order, I am sure I'd've enjoyed it more. It does not do well as a stand-alone book. However, the outline of the historical context in which it appears is interesting, including the impact on the author, and others, of the Watts riots, and the assassinations of Malcolm X, and Dr Martin Luther King.
Vicky Pinpin-Feinstein
I read this book in a single afternoon because reading it is like have a friend sit beside you on the sofa, telling stories to one another as you are sipping tea and you learned about all those delicious details that friendships are made of. Maya Angelou, who knew many if not all of the Civil Rights leaders, the African American movers and shakers and yet she writes about them like a dear friend, a confidant and in the process, you not only learn what friendships mean to her, to you but also tha ...more
I listened to the audio of this as well, and liked Angelou's narration much better. Either I am getting used to her style, or she was much more engaged with this segment of her story.
This part of her autobiography begins with her return to the US from Africa. She has returned to work with Malcolm X. Shortly after she arrives home, he is assassinated. She is devastated, and on top of that, has to find a different way to support herself. Full of entertaining personal stories and absolutely littere
The book starts at the point where Angelou is just now leaving Ghana and on her way back to the States, where she is to help Malcolm X in his campaign. She decides that she wants to go see her mother and brother before taking on the task proper, but by page 26, Malcolm X is shot dead. The book ends with another death, this time the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., just as as she is offered a position to help in his campaign. It is while coming to terms with King’s death that she is give ...more
Anita Dawson
What can you about Maya Angelou? This novel reveals another chapter in her life upon her return from Africa. Miss Maya returns to work with Malcolm X only to find of his assassination. When she decides to work with Martin Luther King, Jr., he too is assassinated. Miss Maya must find herself and be united with her family. Her close relationship with James Baldwin shows his influence on her as she begins her best selling project, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings...

High recommendations to all that l
Deb W
This was the second of Ms. Angelou's works I've listened to on audiobook, read by the author. I'm sorry that it took reading of her obituary to prompt me to finally seek out this gracious, kind, intelligent and humorous woman's writing. Listening to this and the first (Mom & Me & Mom), have touched my heart in large strokes, infusing it with love for her and all the people she loved.
Angelou's writing is by turns poetic and plain here, and it works well. She speaks to tragic events of the mid- to late-1960s, when Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. were both killed. (She was on board with the latter man's civil rights work.)

A firsthand race-riots account and personal relationships receive her gentle but firm treatment as well. Funny tidbits appear in her telling of working and writing for a theater after singing at a lounge in Hawaii and being upstaged by a bigger-voiced s
as audiobook, just an astonishing life. read by the author, lovely - makes me want to read all 8 autobiographies! it ends as she writes the first line of her first autobiography - great wisdom, strength, courage and honesty.
Diane Brown
I enjoyed this installment of Maya's autobiographical account of her life. It is easy reading, and writers would know that creating easy reading is not that easy. "Human beings are like some plants. If we pause a few seconds in our journey, we begin setting down roots, tendrils that entangle other people as we ourselves are entangled"
Grateful that Maya had the conviction to uproot herself many times to live a full life so that we her readers can go along her journeys with her.
I really liked this
In her own voice she relates the time from Malcom X to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s deaths; a tragic time in her life which she surmounts.
Maya Angelou has a melodic way of speaking her beautiful expressions and thoughts in this portion of a six volume autobiography.
This book was much better than the previous few in the series of auto-biographies. We are finally getting some soulful writing back into the prose.
In her first forty years of her life; she had enough experience to write 6 great book about.
The final in the series of biographies. Really loved how the series rounded out.
I stumbled across this book as an audio that was also read by Maya Angelou, and didn't realized that it was the last of her six books. I thought there was some interesting parts and learned somethings that I didn't know, but she spoke as an established figure in the Civil Rights movement, already well known to both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, JR., and I would have liked to have known how she became established in those circles, because at that time she was not yet a writer, but had actuall ...more
Luis Machuca
Couldn't put it down. It was THAT great.
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Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, was an American poet, memoirist, actress and an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. In 2001 she was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal. Maya Angelou is known for her series of six autobiographies, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, (1969 which was n ...more
More about Maya Angelou...

Other Books in the Series

Maya Angelou's Autobiography (6 books)
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Gather Together in My Name
  • Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas (Maya Angelou's Autobiography, #3)
  • The Heart of a Woman
  • All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings The Heart of a Woman  Letter to My Daughter Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now The Complete Collected Poems

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