[Michaeli] developed a love for the ailing paper and for what it and the Negro press had once been. This deeply researched, elegantly written history is a testament to that love. It is also a towering achievement that will not be soon forgotten.
Ethan Michaeli, a white University of Chicago graduate who worked at the paper from 1991 to 1996, traces with intelligence and empathy the Defender’s rise from shoestring origins as a four-page weekly produced in the dining room of Abbott’s landlady.
What makes the book so significant is that Michaeli not only details the history of the paper but also demonstrates its role in shaping the local and national political landscapes ... Despite the book’s sweep, there are oversights. Perhaps most important, Michaeli largely neglects to include the voices of everyday African Americans who made the paper the voice of black America.