Cover image for Black and white and red all over : the story of a friendship
Black and white and red all over : the story of a friendship
Hamilton, Martha McNeil.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : PublicAffairs, [2002]

Physical Description:
xx, 265 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 20 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.A1 H216 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Two friends tell the story of their childhoods in the segregated South, of their meeting and deepening friendship, of Warren's brash with death and Martha's decision to help save his life by donating a kidney. Intimate, poignant, and laced with humor, "Black & White & Red All Over" chronicles the miraculous intersection of two lives that, but for the changes in American society of the last half-century, would never have occurred.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

This profound, earnest and heartfelt book by two Washington Post reporters chronicles two vastly different lives through several memorable decades of American history. Hamilton, a white woman born in blue-collar Houston, and Brown, a black man of segregated New Orleans, explain with well-chosen vignettes how their childhood and young adult experiences laid the groundwork for their unusual pairing as committed friends both in the newsroom and in their private lives. Their individual stories of how they came to be journalists and pioneering hires under the then new affirmative action program are instructive and inspiring, as are their tales of how they struggled against an old boys' network and a glass ceiling. When life's low points, such as the severe mental collapse of Hamilton's daughter and a subsequent divorce, suddenly derail Hamilton's life, Brown remains a steadfast friend and shepherds her from depression to activity. That loyalty is not forgotten when Brown battles an ongoing bout of hypertension and organ failure, which results in a failed attempt to use his wife's transplanted kidney. Told in alternating chapters, Hamilton and Brown map out the terrifying ordeal of transplant surgery, concentrating on their feelings, actions and fears, the concerns of their families and the dangers of the operation. This remarkable book could have descended into shallow theatrics, but its willingness to display both the flaws and strengths of both principals lifts it above the ordinary with its candid tribute to courage and friendship. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The personal account of an interracial kidney transplant told compassionately and with humor by two Washington Post journalists, this book educates the reader on race and sex discrimination over several generations. The story is told in alternating chapters by each writer, one a black man and the other a white woman. Their paths converge in a close friendship with (white) editor Frank Swoboda in the fiercely competitive Post newsroom. Hamilton comes to the aid of her friend, Brown, when he succumbs to "Blackman's Disease," or end-stage renal disease, which destroys his kidney. The authors show how the sometimes-indiscriminate prescription of immunosuppressant drugs to blacks can compromise transplants and how ethnic self-identification rather than genetic testing wrongly determines drug therapy in kidney disease. This book, which began as a series of articles for the Post, is a joy to read, bringing home the palpable connection of the two authors. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Paula N. Arnold, M.L.S., Brighton, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-From the beginning, Brown and Hamilton, business department reporters for the Washington Post, had at least two things in common. Both were hired under affirmative action-she, a white woman and he, a black man, and both had grown up during the '60s in Southern communities that actively resisted the new civil rights movement. Their relationship at the newspaper was tentative at first but evolved into mutual respect and friendship. Along with other Post colleagues, Hamilton watched with concern as Brown's kidney disease worsened and dialysis became more difficult. A successful transplant from his wife was the occasion for short-lived rejoicing. When the tragic rejection of the organ occurred, Hamilton didn't hesitate to offer to donate one of her healthy kidneys to her friend. The authors write with candor and affectionate humor about their lives and careers. Teens will learn about the changing social climate of the 1960s and '70s, future journalists will be intrigued to learn of the workings of a big-city newspaper, and most readers will find the account of the frustrations and dangers of kidney transplant compelling and suspenseful. While this is a story about discrimination and the changing roles of African Americans and women, it is, more importantly, about friendship.-Jackie Gropman, Chantilly Regional Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.