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All About Love [Paperback]

Bell Hooks
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 4 2001 Bell Hooks Love Trilogy

"The word "love" is most often defined as a noun, yet...we would all love to better if we used it as a verb," writes bell hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About Love. Here, at her most provacative and intensely personel, the renowned scholar, cultural critic, and feminist skewers our view of love as romance. In its place she offers a proactive new ethic for a people and a society bereft with lovelessness.

As bell hooks uses her incisive mind and razor-sharp pen to explode th question "What is love?" her answers strike at both the mind and heart. In thirteen concise chapters, hooks examines her own search for emotional connection and society's failure to provide a model for learning to love. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for the individuals and for a nation. The Utne Reader declared bell hooks one of the "100 Visionaries Who Can Change Your Life." All About Love is a powerful affirmation of just how profoundly she can.

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All About Love + The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love + Communion: The Female Search for Love
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From Amazon

Readers of bell hooks's fiery and eloquent attacks on racism and sexism might be surprised to see her take on the elusive subject of love, but in her own unique way, hooks beautifully weaves her childhood search for that emotion with society's misuse (and dire need) of it. All About Love takes apart the sentimental and often fleeting aspects of romance, stuck in the muddled urges of sex, and details the problems that arise from the confusion between the two. What hooks does best is reveal that the true force of love lies in its spiritual, redemptive power, which can impact positively on humankind: "When angels speak of love they tell us it is only by loving that we enter an earthly paradise," she writes. "They tell us paradise is our home and love our true destiny." --Eugene Holley Jr. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Taking on yet another popular topic in her role as cultural critic, hooks blends the personal and the psychological with the philosophical in her latest book--a thoughtful but frequently familiar examination of love American style. A distinguished professor of English at City College in New York City, she explains her sense of urgency about confronting a subject that countless writers have analyzed: "I feel our nation's turning away from love as intensely as I felt love's abandonment in my girlhood. Turning away, we risk moving in a wilderness of spirit so intense we may never find our way home again." With an engaging narrative style, hooks presents a series of possible ways to reverse what she sees as the emotional and cultural fallout caused by flawed visions of love largely defined by men who have been socialized to distrust its value and power. She proposes a transformative love based on affection, respect, recognition, commitment, trust and care, rather than the customary forms stemming from gender stereotypes, domination, control, ego and aggression. However, many of her insights about self-love, forgiveness, compassion and openness have been explored in greater depth by the legion of writers hooks quotes liberally throughout the book, such as John Bradshaw, Lucia Hodgson, Thich Nhat Hanh, Thomas Merton and M. Scott Peck, among others. Still, every page offers useful nuggets of wisdom to aid the reader in overcoming the fears of total intimacy and of loss. Although the chapter on angels comes across as filler, hooks's view of amour is ultimately a pleasing, upbeat alternative to the slew of books that proclaim the demise of love in our cynical time.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very liberating! July 23 2002
By "sklam"
I LOVE this book...read through it very quickly and look forward to reading it again. It did more for me than any "self-help" book I've picked up because she explores the issues surrounding love and why we are unable to love ourself. And there is no pressure to "practice" certain healing methods. The book is thought provoking and inspirational. I've struggled with the issue of lovelessness all my life and was on the verge of destroying a very wonderful relationship because of my inability to love myself first. I am better able now to understand where those feelings are coming from and how to deal with them and let them go. This book has helped to liberate me. And now I can learn to love myself and my partner on a much deeper level. Upon finishing the book, I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and renewed with a new way of looking at love and how we love. From time to time, we do find ourselves discouraged and question whether we will find love in our lives without realizing that love exists in all of us and around us. Bell Hooks is a great writer; I admire her ability to express her thoughts on the issue of love and to be able to share it with the rest of world. She speaks to you in this book. Thank you, Bell Hooks!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
bell hooks is one of the most gifted intellectuals of our time and this book is one of her best books. Before reading this book, I was only familiar with bell hooks in the context of her role as a social critic and scholar in terms of her writings on issues such as race, gender, and class; but what this book does is allow people to think critically about a subject so thought provoking but commonly explored and discussed within the commercial confines of popular culture. This book allows the reader to transcend thinking of love in terms of romantic love and love for our families, but also envision love as an emotion of compassion and a foundation for ethics and social change in terms of love for self, humanity, and the environment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A courageous book that should be widely read March 14 2002
There aren't many public discussions of love in America outside of popular culture -- movies, music, books, magazines -- but there should be, because lack of an expansive understanding of and capacity for love is behind much that is wrong in our society. When bell hooks noticed that the world she was living in "was no longer open to love" and that "lovelessness had become the order of the day," she decided to write about it. "I began thinking and writing about love when I heard cynicism instead of hope in the voices of young and old," she says.
The result is a book that's a refreshing change from relationship advice books that completely overlook the cultural context of love -- the ways in which love is difficult for both men and women, but especially for women, in a patriarchal culture; the ways in which a more expansive understanding of love is sorely needed to set things right in a country run by fear. hooks begins by addressing the pervasive confusion about what love is, defining it as M. Scott Peck does: "The will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth."
The chapters in which hooks names "the ways we are seduced away from love" read as a litany of soul-corroding cultural norms. There is, most fundamentally, injustice to children in dysfunctional families in a culture where family dysfunction is normalized. Then there's the increasing prevalence of lying in public and private transactions alike, most recently exemplified in the Enron scandal and the priest-pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church. There's the cultural obsession with power and domination instead of a love ethic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Confirmed Some Of My Own Thoughts About Love Jan. 14 2002
To some degree it felt like I was reading my own thoughts. I noticed that bell hooks and I have read some of the same books. Plus like her I came from a dysfunctional family. Also like her I have done some work trying to heal the wounds that were inflicted both in childhood and adulthood. It's a never ceasing 'life assignment', to heal myself though love. I've learned over time you can make your own family, that romantic love isn't the most important love and to be able to receive love you must love yourself first. I also liked she had a few thoughts on love for me to ponder, a fresh perspective. I recommend this book for anyone who are trying to make sense of their lives because they feel unloved or unloveable. She gives good information on what love is and what it's not. She rejects the American culture of what love is and I agree with her that we are moving toward a more violent, death culture since the late seventies. I have decided not to watch or read anymore negitive programs, movies, books, or magazines. Also to cut back on the news. I can only change myself, not the world (but we can work with organizations that promote healthy world changes). I believe in the transformative nature of love and that's what this book is about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars essential March 14 2002
I have read and reread this book. I have bought it for friends, given my copies to strangers on the trian who have asked about it, and suggested it to just about everyone i know, from my grandmother to my boyfriend. I truely believe that if everyone on earth read this book that the world would be a better place. Bell Hooks is "hardcore" about her stance on what is and what isn't love. She gives it definition and makes it actually possible to consider a future, or even a present, with love in our lives when we live in a time when love is looked at as impossible by most of us. She attacks our ideas about love. I personally came away from the book with an idea of how to actually go about being a more loving person. I have standards now that I didn't have before. Unlike a previous reviewer said, Bell Hooks bases her ideas of love on responsibility and respect.
I highly recommend this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Much of love is a construct based on childhood impressions, influences...
A much needed read if you seek to unlearn the social constructs around relationships that we are conditioned to accept.
Published 1 month ago by RamogiFM
5.0 out of 5 stars My girlfriend left me after I bought this book for us
This is a good book and I liked what I had read so far when my girlfriend decided to close the door on me and start another life with her new boyfriend Craig. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Shawn Vulliez
2.0 out of 5 stars Review of all about love New Visions
I wanted to read this book because I noticed some quotes
from people I love, such as Teresa of Avila. I skimmed
before purchasing and should have skimmed closer. Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2001 by Suzanne McConnell
5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable journey
I was moved by this book and I enjoyed the read. hooks' approach is straight forward, feminist yet her voice is affirming and gentle, especially in the latter chapters about love... Read more
Published on April 18 2001 by Charlotte W. Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
All About Love is an important and moving work by a brilliant writer. I first heard about this book when I heard an interview with bell hooks - a few days later, I bought the book,... Read more
Published on April 15 2001 by Joshua Burnett
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books I ever read
This book describes different types of love and touches on love's relationship to social justice and feminism. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2001 by Steve A. Parris
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
bell hooks always brings a thought provoking slant to any topic she writes about and this is no different. Read more
Published on Dec 29 2000 by "princess539"
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