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Gather Together in My Name Paperback – April 21, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Engrossing and vital, rich and funny and wise . . . Angelou writes like a song, and like the truth.”
–The New York Times Book Review

“A curiously heartening story in which decency, honor, truth, love do exist, imperfectly, fractionally and flickeringly, not in some Platonic realm of the ideal, but in the flawed lives of real men and women.”
–The Washington Post

“The book is a gem. It presents a descriptive picture of the texture of the lives and times of many black people in the late forties before the dawn of civil rights. It is so insightful and funny-sad, you catch yourself remembering your own young adulthood.”
–Chicago Tribune

“Rich, engaging . . . Angelou tells the story of this dauntless, reckless, foolish girl with few flourishes; it doesn’t need them.”
–The New Yorker

From the Publisher

In Gather Together In My Name Maya Angelou continues her stunning autobiography. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, passionate and mellow, she fills the pages with both wisdom and wonder as she brings us along in her struggle and dance through life. "a heroic and beautiful book." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer. "This is the story of a great heroine who knows the meaning of a struggle and never loses her pride or dignity. Indeed, her story makes me proud of the human race." -- John Oliver Killens --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812980301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812980301
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Maya Angelou has been waitress, singer, actress, dancer, activist, filmmaker, writer and mother. As well as her autobiography she has written several volumes of poetry, including 'On the Pulse of the Morning' for the inauguration of President Clinton. She now has a life-time appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Gather Together in My Name" is a work of autobiography by Maya Angelou. It picks up the story of her life after "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and begins when she is 17 years old and the mother of her son, Guy. Marguerite (her proper name) knows that she has to find a job so she can support herself and her son. This book covers several jobs in several cities and is an amazingly powerful look at her life.
What I know of Maya Angelou is that she is a celebrated author who has written volumes of poetry and autobiography and that she seems to be a friend and favorite guest of Oprah Winfrey. The woman she is now, from all that I can tell, is a beautiful soul. What I didn't know was the experiences of her life and how she came to be the woman she is. These series of autobiographies tell of Angelou's life and the reality far surpasses anything I could have imagined.
In this volume alone Maya worked as a dancer, a cook (multiple times), a Madam, a waitress, and briefly as a prostitute. The power comes in the how, the why, and in the telling of the story of these jobs and in Maya's raising of her son and interactions with her family, co-workers, false friends, and with men.
Each volume of Maya Angelou's autobiography is fairly slim (this one was 181 pages), but the life she has lived is so fascinating that I would highly recommend reading it (any of them). It will not take up much of your time, but it shows the life of a young woman growing up and living a life uncommon.
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Format: Hardcover
I read the first and second book in Maya Angelou biographies. "Gather Together In My Name" is the sequel to "I know Why the Cage Bird Sings." In "Gather Together In My Name," Maya Angelou is still in her teens and has given birth to her son, Guy. The time that this book takes place is at the end of World War 2. This time is a time of new beginnings, especially for black people. Maya Angelou tries to find a place in the world that will except her and her son. This is most difficult for her, because she can't find a decent job and her family won't help support her son. She becomes a short-order cook and falls in love, a brief affair that makes her want a relationship, that will bring affection and security for herself and her baby. The job doesn't last long, neither do her relationships. She moves from job to job and man to man. She feels as if nothing is working for her. And that she's not accepted in society. She tries to go to the army, but doesn't get in. She becomes a night club dancer and loves that, but her new partner drops her for another women. She then works at a house for prostitution. She makes no money prostituting but as the business manager it works out for her but only a little while. Her many challenges in life has helped succeed in life, and in her careers. Her harsh experiences helped her become a great writer, and poet. I liked this book a lot. No matter what she never gave up and that is what made her strong. She is a "Phenomenal Women."
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Format: Paperback
This is the second in Maya Angelou's series of books about her life. It is as beautifully written as the first volume, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and covers her life from the ages of sixteen to nineteen. For many of us, these years would not make for fascinating reading, but for Ms. Angelou these were years of searching and experimenting in a time when opportunities were plentiful, but usually contained hidden costs. Much of the book is about how Ms. Angelou belatedly discovered the hidden agendas of those she came to love. Indeed, hardly anything turned out the way she planned. Ms. Angelou is completely honest about her life, her naivety, her ambitions, and especially her feelings. She successfully evokes all the feelings and dreams of a young woman who is trying to make it as an adult. This is a powerful book in which the author invites you into her innermost world, and lets you share her excitement, disappointment, fear, elation, hardship, mistakes, and desires. Ms. Angelou experienced much more during these years than most of us would dream of: She worked as a cook, waitress, dancer, prostitute, clothing seller, restaurant manager and Madam. In between jobs she retreated to life with family. All of her experiences are described in vivid detail yet so straightforwardly that the book is actually quite short (181 pages). I highly recommend this book, as well as the first volume of Ms. Angelou's autobiography
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Format: Paperback
Too often when I have read someone's memoirs or an autobiography I have had the suspicion that the author is painting a very self-serving portrait of the events in their lives. Reading Maya's memoirs is the exception. She didn't have to tell the world that she worked for awhile as a 'pimp', as a prostitute, or as an exotic dancer. Many people wouldn't have for fear of personal embarrasment. Maya is beyond that. She owns her life and shows us her successes, her mistakes, and never tries to make excuses or blame others. Maya knows that everyone has their dark moments and when we take ourselves too seriously and only show the world our successes we rob everyone of valuable lessons. I found this book to be one of the best I have ever read. Congratulations Maya on a job well done.
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