Author (How to Make Black America Better), NPR talk-show host and PrimeTime correspondent Smiley assembled this collection of essays to celebrate the inner strength of black Americans. There are testimonials from the famous, including Cornel West, Danny Glover and eight stories from Smiley himself, but most of the collection comprises anecdotes from regular folks. Kaye Barrow Ziglar, an ordained deacon, tells of getting through Christmas a few months after losing her young daughter, while journalist Sandra R. Bell recounts how she was ""dragged through the mud"" over a building project, yet prevailed, thanks to her persistence and hope. Smiley has organized these vignettes thematically around topics such as faith, grief and healing; education; hope and overcoming; and ""Black love."" It's this last subject that Smiley is most emphatic about. ""I'm not just talking about their ability to love their own, but also the ability to love others,"" he writes. Besides the love of God, ""Black love is the most powerful force in the universe,"" Smiley says, and this collection showcases that power.