Skip to Main Content

About The Book

Here is the remarkable story of U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton -- impassioned civil rights activist, hard-driving legislator, and one of the most powerful women in American history.
They call her the "Warrior on the Hill," acknowledging the battles she's waged as a political pioneer across more than four decades of American history. Perhaps more than anyone else, she has taken to heart Eleanor Roosevelt's famous pronouncement that "every political woman needs to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide."
Joan Steinau Lester shared much of the last forty years with Eleanor Holmes Norton. They met in 1958 when they were both students at Antioch College. Now an acclaimed author, Lester shares her friendship with the congresswoman and tells the story of one woman's rise to leadership. Charting forty years of political and personal challenge, Fire in My Soul shows Norton marching on the Capitol to demand a Senate hearing for Anita Hill; grilling Army generals about sex abuse; arguing before the Supreme Court to uphold first amendment rights, even for a segregationist; and much more. Norton's story is organically linked to Washington, D.C., home to her family for four generations, and reveals why she is now the voice of the city.
This fascinating biography, told largely in Norton's words, showcases as never before the many facets of a woman who remains an iconic torch-bearer for the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Scores of conversations with Norton and nearly a hundred interviews with colleagues, family, and friends have made Fire in My Soul a remarkable document of how one extraordinary woman helped to effect lasting change in the ways we interact across racial and gender lines.

About The Author

Irene Young

Joan Steinau Lester, Ed.D., is an award-winning journalist and author of four critically acclaimed books. Her writing has appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including Essence, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Northern California.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (February 5, 2003)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743424455

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

The Washington Post [A]n engaging narrative of the life and times of a remarkable individual.

Gloria Steinem Read Fire in My Soul to meet a woman who, in a just world, would have been President of the United States; to learn the power of good families in bad worlds; and to find a friend whose life teaches courage and compassion.

Maya Angelou Eleanor Holmes Norton knows law, people, and life...[and] Joan Lester knows remarkably well how to...let Norton speak.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Chair, Department of African and African-American Studies, Harvard University Norton is an inspirational figure to us all. Hers is a truly fascinating story, and I am delighted that [Joan Lester has] chosen to tell it in such an engaging way.

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Joan Steinau Lester