Books by Miles Shapiro

MAYA ANGELOU by Miles Shapiro
Released: March 1, 1994

Closely following events the poet has described in her several autobiographical volumes (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1970, etc.), this entry in the Black Americans of Achievement series focuses on her youth and, with somewhat less detail, her early adulthood—the extraordinary range of successful careers, as cook, dancer, madam, singer, actress, poet, administrator, journalist, and professor, for none of which she trained formally (again and again, she landed a job in an untried field and carried it off with panache). Shapiro summarizes the years since 1960 in a page or so. His narrative is intelligent, perceptive, and well larded with quotes from Angelou herself; photos range from widely published shots to dramatizations of her life (there's a photo of Diahann Carroll as her mother, but not one of her actual mother) to generic period pictures. Narrow center margins and unconscionably tight binding conspire to make actually reading this useful introduction to a fascinating woman a real chore. Oddly abbreviated chronology; further reading (mostly Angelou's books); index. (Biography. 11+) Read full book review >