Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas

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9780679457770: Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas

In this third self-contained volume of her autobiography, which began with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou moves into the adult world, and the white world as well, as she marries, enters show business, and tours Europe and Africa in Porgy and Bess.

As the book opens, Maya, in order to support herself and her young son, gets a job in a record shop run by a white woman. Suspicious of almost any kindness shown her, she is particularly confused by the special attentions of a young white customer. Soon the relationship grows into love and then marriage, and Maya believes a permanent relationship is finally possible. But it is not to be, and she is again forced to look for work.

This time she finds a job as a dancer in a sleazy San Francisco bar. Her remarkable talent, however, soon brings her attention of a different kind, and before long she is singing in one of the most popular nightclubs on the coast. From there, she is called to New York to join the cast of Porgy and Bess, which is just about to begin another tour abroad.

The troupe's joyous and dramatic adventure through Italy, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, and Egypt becomes the centerpiece of Singin' and Swingin'. This remarkable portrayal of one of the most exciting and talented casts ever put together, and of the encounters between these larger-than-life personalities and audiences who had rarely seen black people before, makes a hilarious and poignant story. The excitement of the journey -- full of camaraderie, love affairs, and memorable personalities -- is dampened only by Maya's nagging guilt that she has once again abandoned the person she loves most in life, her son.

Back home, and driven close to suicide by her guilt and concern, she takes her son with her to Hawaii, where she discovers that devotion and love, in spite of forced absence, have the power to heal and sustain.

As always, Maya Angelou's writing is charged with that remarkable sense of life and love and unique celebration of the human condition that have won her such a loyal following.

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From the Publisher:

Here Maya Angelou, dazzling entertainer, casts the spotlight on her show business career -- a pageant of international scope. Maya, the woman, shares her sad, failed marriage to a white man, her early motherhood and achingly sensitive relationship with her young son, and her bone-deep, painful suspicion of the white world that welcomes her talent so dramatically ...

"Honest, funny and heartwarming... The strenth o the book is Angelou's lyrical writing... a God-given gift." -- The Washington Star.

"The buoyant, gifted Maya Angelou continues her autobiography... both her joy and her despair have twice as much impact as most people's." -- New York Magazine.

From the Back Cover:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

"I know that not since the days of my childhood, when people in books were more real than the people one saw every day, have I found myself so moved."

-- James Baldwin

"Full of laughter and tears, love and hate, failures and triumphs, and above all, understanding."

-- John O. Killens

Gather Together in My Name

"Gather Together in My Name is part of a select body of literature that includes The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Claude Brown's Manchild in the Promised Land, and Ernest J. Gaines's The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Maya Angelou regards the world and herself with intelligence and wit; she records the events of her life with style and grace."

-- William McPherson, The Washington Post Book World

"Here the 'caged bird' soars, and sings in a voice as rich and funny, passionate and mellow as any writer I know."

-- Shana Alexander

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