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Salvation: Black People and Love Paperback – December 18, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The transformative power of love is the foundation of all meaningful social change," contends hooks in this impassioned plea to embattled African-American communities to embrace love as a force for change. Returning to the subject of last year's All About Love, this leading feminist scholar focuses this time on a love ethic that, she maintains, has the potential to undo the long-term effects of neglect, poverty and despair. As in other recent books on black relationships (such as George Edmond Smith and Gwendolyn Goldsby Grant's More Than Sex), hooks refutes the myth stemming from the time of slavery that black people haven't attempted to normalize their lives, citing documentation of familial love and strong community ties. Much of the conflict in relationships between black men and women can be linked, she suggests, to the sense of loss and abandonment arising from increasingly fractured black families; as a result, many members of the hip-hop generation mistrust love. Although hooks covers overworked turf in her chapters on self-love, her flair for crisp writing surfaces again in her celebration of black women's propensity for cultivating love in their communities and in her stinging arguments against the scapegoating of black single mothers. In the later chapters, hooks reaches beyond the theoretical to address various walks of black life. Her fans will delight in her array of cultural references, from Zora Neale Hurston, Cornel West and Erich Fromm to Eldridge Cleaver, Olga Silverstein and Lil' Kim. Despite recent criticism that hooks may have lost some of her bite, this book provides ample evidence to the contrary. (Feb. 1 Forecast: Though it won't defend hooks from the charge that she is rewriting the same book, this effort is more focused and potent that her last. Supported by an 11-city tour that will include events that play to her following among college students, this title should keep hooks's fans satisfied.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Feminist scholar hooks (All About Love), who believes that there is a crisis of "lovelessness" in the black community, continues her exploration of love with a different slant: she addresses its meaning in black experience today and offers a plan of action for "black survivial and self-determination." At the heart of the matter are poor neighborhoods that were once lively but are now deserted, a lack of spirituality, an emphasis on gaining material things, and the resulting collapse of community. Hooks also covers the issues of self-love, single mothers, black masculinity, heterosexual love, and homosexual love. She appeals to Martin Luther King, Cornel West, writer June Jordan, and others for words of wisdom in this well-written and informative work. Ultimately, she urges African Americans to return to love, the clear path to healing our wounded environment. A welcome addition to most academic and some public libraries.
-DAnn Burns, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Bell Hooks Love Trilogy (Paperback)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (December 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060959495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060959494
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bell Hooks is a cultural critic, feminist theorist, and writer. Celebrated as one of our nation's leading public intellectual by The Atlantic Monthly, as well as one of Utne Reader's 100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life, she is a charismatic speaker who divides her time among teaching, writing, and lecturing around the world. Previously a professor in the English departments at Yale University and Oberlin College, hooks is now a Distinguished Professor of English at City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of more than seventeen books, including All About Love: New Visions; Remembered Rapture: The Writer at Work; Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life; Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood; Killing Rage: Ending Racism; Art on My Mind: Visual Politics; and Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life. She lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In "Salvation: Black People and Love," cultural critic bell hooks explores the significance of love in African-American culture. The book combines autobiographical material with reflections on literature, film, music, and history. hooks declares, "The denigration of love in black experience, across classes, has been the breeding ground for nihilism, for despair, for ongoing terroristic violence and predatory opportunism." Ultimately, she envisions a rekindling of "the flame of liberation struggle rooted in a love ethic" and reaffirms Martin Luther King's vsion of "a beloved community."
In the book's introduction, hooks is clearly positioning herself in the great tradition of African-American literature and cultural activism: she makes reference to Lorraine Hansberry, Zora Neale Hurston, Ann Petry, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, June Jordan, and, of course, King. Later in the book she goes on to reference many other comparable figures: Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Paul Laurence Dunbar, etc. Among the topics she addresses are the following: images of African-Americans in the media, single mothers, black masculinity, the role of gay men and women in the black community, etc.
hooks' project is admirable, and her prose is engaging. Despite the book's strengths, however, I did not find it wholly satisfying. hooks has an annoying habit of citing her own books too much; I know she is a prolific author, but I find too much self-citation quite unappealing. Some of her critiques are questionable; I was particularly disturbed by her harsh assessments of Betty Shabazz and Coretta Scott King. And frankly, hooks cites so many different people and cultural phenomena that the book often feels rushed and shallow.
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By A Customer on March 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most thought-provoking books I have read in a while. Though I purchased this book a few years ago, I only recently picked it up to read. And what a read it was....
bell hooks brilliantly explores and exposes many of the fundamental causes at the root of our society's, particularly the black community's, moral decay and self-deformation. Though written for and to African-Americans, hooks does not exclude non-African-Americans from the "call" to embrace and build a love ethic. She has certainly done her research and her book has encouraged me to do more of my own. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and particularly enjoyed the way she ended with a chapter entitled "love justice". I believe love is the most transformative power we have and in this book bell hooks tells us how and why.
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By Theodorea Berry on September 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
After reading hooks' "All About Love", I had to pick this one up and I am SO glad I did. I picked it up and couldn't put in down. In fact, every male friend (to include the one to whom I am most endeared)has either received this book from me as a gift or was strongly encouraged to buy it. bell hooks tells it like it is in a powerful, intriguing, captivating, intellectual, sensual, passionate, thought-provoking, mind-blowing excursion toward the revealment of love (or the lack thereof) in the African American community. She's telling truths that need to be re-told (over and over again), she's exposing lies, both political and social, she's revaling half-truths and other mindless deceptions, and she's doing it all in love. Everybody --- Black or white, straight or gay, male and female, young and old, free or bonded, abused or loved --- needs to read this book like the body needs water, like the lungs need air. If we could get to the place where we understand love the way bell is conveying her message of love, then many of us would be a lot less confused and a lot more hopeful. Read the book, read the book, read the book! If you're a historian, read the book. If you're an educator, read the book. If you're a politician, read the book. I strongly recommend it for anyone who dares to open their minds just a little further.
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Format: Hardcover
Being an avid reader of hooks' works, I didn't find much new in "Salvation,"; however, I agree strongly with her thesis that much more needs to be said and explored about Black people loving Black people. The poet Nikki Giovanni once wrote that Black love is Black wealth, but it seems that since the Black is Beautiful sixties, many Black people have been led away from the notions of love for one another to a concentration of materialism and/or sheer survival in the 90s. Hooks' newest work raises how images of Black love are absent in popular culture and everyday life. She maintains that even the historical struggle for civil rights and Black Power often overlooked the need for African people in this country to love one another in ways that were empowering. The emphasis--though extremely important--was on fighting White racial injustice but not enough about loving ourselves and our children. We are still challenged, hooks argues, by White racist images of who we are. We must continue to decolonalize racist ways we think about one another and create beloved communities..
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Format: Hardcover
Since I "discovered" bell hooks in college (sound familar?) I continually find myself enaged and impressed with her writing style, view poing, un-embellished intellectual discourse, and use of common language to put voice to some difficult and sensitive topics. hooks is a careful observer, who manages to avoid pointing fingers and "taking sides," instead focusing on the way systems -- not individuals -- create situations by which we are all trapped in roles. Salvation is no different. I found it a thorough and thought provoking exploration of the notiton of love in a historically fractured community. As a black woman, it would have been easy to fall into who's *fault* it is that love is an endangered species in black culture. I've read the blame of black men, other black women, white men, mammas, stereotypes ect...but what hooks does differently, and with the gentle grace of an explorer trying to understand without categorically defineing a large topic, is simply examine.
she offers up theory, evidence and most of all a solution and a call to action for us ALL to affect the way love exists in black community. What Salvation leaves is an uplifiting message that while we come from the fractures and fissures left by forced relocation, slavery and dehumanization, love is not an impossibility or a fairytale, but a real necessity in our lives. I also appreciated how hooks addressed not just issues of romantic love but parental affection and the need of a "love ethic" within the black community that will be our salvation.
hooks has done it again, and with every book she lays the map of the black experience from the eyes of a scholar, a woman and a black person.
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