Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

Hi, it’s Maya, and I’m back with another 5-Star Read. I’m so excited to share Patricia Bell-Scott’s, The Firebrand and the First Lady,” with you.

This book is wonderful for so many reasons. In particular, I really loved that it’s a portrait of a friendship. The two people in the friendship are these extraordinarily influential historical figures. On one hand we have Eleanor Roosevelt. Then, on the other hand we have Pauli Murray.

This is someone who was a civil rights and a woman’s rights activist, and who reinvented herself in so many ways over a number of years. You’ll have to read the book to get more details on her.

I am so impressed with Patricia Bell-Scott, who is the author of this book. She spent 20 years combing through all of this historical material in order to be able to tell the story of these two women and the friendship that changed our nation.

I think this is a fantastic read for history lovers, whether you’re into black history or women’s history or American history, more generally. There is much to be learned and gained through reading this book. Even though this is a history book there’s something about it that feels really timely and contemporary. I think that the friendship between these women has a lot to teach us today about how to engage in difficult dialogue. How to have really courageous conversations with people who differ from us, in terms of race or class or generation or political views. I’m so happy to recommend this book to you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

If this review resonates with you, I bet you’ll enjoy my newsletter. I regularly send bookish news and notes out to more than 1,000 readers. Sign up here. I had the privilege of interview author Patricia Bell-Scott for Kirkus Reviews. Read the interview here.