On the surface, there is little to connect the two books, but if you look past the exterior – what we may realise is that the beauty of both is in their collation of data rather than in necessarily discovering new data. In short, if Google has taught us anything, it is that organising information to be easily accessible can be just as important as the actual information itself.  Therein lies the beauty of this book too. Little of the information within it is new to the historian or scholar, but having it compiled in one text gives an idea of the prominent and varied role played by Black Muslims in the golden age of Madinah.
Race – that ever present fault line that is as relevant today as it was when the Prophet stood at Arafat and warned us against letting it cloud our value of our fellow human beings. In these highly charged times, it is more important than ever that Muslims are able to look back at our history in way that goes beyond mere tokenization. We cannot keep invoking the name of Bilal as our answer against charges of racial bias in current Muslim society without sounding like we’re trying too hard to cover up very real problems. 
Every time non-Black Muslims use Bilal as a shorthand to explain away racial bias, they move further into denial and away from any practical steps to deal with the issues at hand. It also showcases a historical blind spot that is unfortunate at best.
The first few chapters deftly lay out the case for writing the book as well as discussing the nature of race in a way that adds layers of context you don’t often find in an Islamic history book. Thought provoking topics are dealt with such as what is meant by describing someone as “black”, highly regarded black Arab poetic literature and even a fascinating section on how the Arabian peninsula could just as easily be part of Africa as it is part of Asia were it not for arbitrary decisions by long forgotten entities.
But that is not why you should read this book.
You should read it because it is concise. I read it cover to cover in one sitting. In a time of ever decreasing attention spans, this is vital if we are to convince the masses to engage with the text.
You should read it because it is well written. It could have been so easy to make each biography a little longer, but the editing meant they kept to the point. In fact, the book maybe seen as an extension of an essay by Dawud Walid on 7 Luminous Black Companions of the Prophet 
But mostly, you should read it because – if we’re ever going to heal the rifts that divide us as a people – we need to combat the superiority and inferiority complexes embedded in the Muslim community around race, skin colour and shade. If this book can go some way towards achieving that, it will be worth far more than whatever you pay for it.