“The word “love” is most often defined as a noun, yet…we would all love 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 provocative and intensely personal, 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 explore the 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.

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.

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