bell hooks divides her time amongst teaching, writing, and lecturing around the world. The author of more than sixteen books, she is a distinguished professor of English at City College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
A companion to We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity (Forecasts, Nov. 10), hooks's 23rd book for adults is a fierce, quirky denunciation of patriarchy and a clarion call to the uncommitted to align themselves with visionary radical feminism. In 12 slim chapters, hooks examines the stages of a man's life, from babyhood through boyhood to the teenage years into manhood. She finds patriarchy plays a role in most socio-sexual ills, as boys and men seek alienating sex as a substitute for the love that often seems, because of demands on families that destroy them or keep them from forming, unavailable to men: "Sex, then, becomes for most men a way of self-solacing. It is not about connecting to someone else but rather releasing their own pain." The men who can lead us out of patriarchal chains are "men of color from poor countries, men who live in exile, men who have been victimized by imperialist male violence"-the Dalai Lama for example. While she calls Will Smith films such as Men in Black and Independence Day tools of the patriarchy, hooks saves her big guns for J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, scornfully exposing them as foisted on us by "rich white American men" and no more than updated version of the British schoolboy books that fueled the fantasies of Victoria's empire. A better book to buy for children, she suggests, might be her own recent Be Bop Buzz. Hooks is always readable, but her takes on mass media here have a retro ring to them. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"A fierce, quirky denunciation of patriarchy and a clarion call to the uncommitted to align themselves with visionary radical feminism." - Publishers Weekly; "A compelling study of the culture's unfairness to men." - George Weinberg, author of Why Men Won't Commit"