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Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics Paperback – July 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for the book:

"For hooks, radical cultural criticism is rooted in a commitment to black liberation struggle. She examines representations of black people and black life in literature and popular culture to understand how such representations enhance and undermine the capacity of African-Americans to determine their own fate. She focuses, in particular, on the ways in which such representations work to either enslave or liberate blacks, reinforce or challenge racism in whites, and sustain or subvert white supremacy. She also remains critical of the ways in which both women's liberation and black liberation continue to be practiced as if black women did not exist." —Clifford L. Staples, Postmodern Culture (1992)

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Born in Kentucky, bell hooks is the author of Ain't I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism; Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center; and Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896083853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896083851
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,809 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Ayanna on June 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Yearning is comprised of a series of essays, which identify, dissect, and communicate cultural politics with a focus on the world's lack of focus towards black women. Various overlooked and underrepresented groups in the media and world literature are given a voice too. Stereotypes and cultural ignorance is dealt with thoroughly. Not only does the author shoot down the upper-class white heterosexual male icon, she analyzes mentally, statistically and historically oppressed peoples own misgivings. All the while, the book is entertaining. bell hooks has a straight forward approach that forces one to look past his-story's rhetoric and recognize truths. hooks writes for those with a vocabulary, so if that's what you lack, grab Webster and learn a few words as you gain insight and recognition on cultural politics.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Yasmin H. McEwen on August 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
~ there are books that one reads and remembers,

there are others that become family members; books that stay with one throughout longines of suffering;

words from the author stoicly holding up the soul when one doesn't have the strength

~ this book lives by my nightstand; the words from bell hooks essay, "Choosing the margin,"
found me when i was an undergraduate and struggling; struggling with figuring out how to write

the truth;

moreso; how exactly to write the truth in front of everybody; how to look people in the eye; and still,

write the truth; it is a painful undertaking; this writing of the truth in front of everybody; this essay

will teach a writer more than any lecture on learning to live within

the safe language space; it will speak to the intellectual who is figuring out still,

how to say it;

the truth;

how to make it look good and feel good and taste good; there is no way to do this; and in a radical

chess move, ms. hooks writes as if to say there is a better way to keep the flame of your soul alive

learn to reside within the margin space ; learn to live within the group, by living on the outside, refuse to


inside the circle ; refuse

to become one who agrees to everything ; stay here in this radical space ; this

margin ; will sustain you ; by living within the margin ; this is where you will begin to thrive ;

call bell hooks radical call her racist call her what you will but she too, has mastered living in the margins

and this is where she will thrive and survive this is the great open radical space where no one can touch her ;

she is ultimately

one of the worlds purest forms

of greatness ;

i admire her ; and i cherish

nearly every single thing she ever writes ;
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By Doleatha Young on July 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great read!!!
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15 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Peter A. Kindle on May 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Being substantially outside of Bell Hooks' target audience, I confess a certain amount of difficulty in hearing what she has to say. Frankly, I had to read this book twice in order to get past her offensive terminology. "Whiteness" is the foundational problem for Hooks, and it leads to racism, colonization, and "oppressive structures of domination."
It is possible that Hooks uses inflammatory language with intention. Her overarching purpose seems to be to rekindle black solidarity in order to complete movement toward racial freedom and equality. This goal is laudable, but I find it easier to support Hooks when she rephrases this goal outside of racial class conflict. She advocates for control of one's destiny, self-actualization, community, and integrity of being, but she does not seem to realize that these are the yearnings of all humanity, not simply American blacks.
American culture, perhaps every human culture, is hierarchical. Even whites must deal with the "oppression" of those higher in the structure. Continued fracturing of middle and lower levels of the social structure along racial lines merely diffuses the power innate to each social class. Coalitions across racial, religious, and ethnic barriers are needed to compete with the hegemonic power of the social elites. Hooks passionate voice may actually work to maintain the secondary status of black Americans by making such coalitions more difficult.
I find two additional inconsistencies in Hooks message. First, she advocates solidarity and self-actualization, but I cannot help but wonder if these two goals can be harmonized. Secondly, I believe she is guilty of baseline distortion in her assumption of hopelessness as the black cultural norm.
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