cover image Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life

Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life

bell hooks. South End Press, $20 (174pp) ISBN 978-0-89608-414-8

A series of dialogues between and interviews with two of the foremost black intellectuals in America today, this volume is of enormous importance and offers rewarding reading. At the outset, hooks describes these conversations as a kind of ``testimony,'' in the religious sense, to ``what it means to be Blackstet cap intellectuals at this historical moment.'' West ( Prophetic Fragments ) and hooks ( Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black ) talk frankly about the difficult necessity of moving beyond the academy to reach an audience in the black community at large. Much of their talk focuses on the violence done to the black community by consumer capitalism, by rampant market forces that have eroded the traditional institutions of support within the community, replacing them with a Big Mac and designer sneakers. Both are suspicious of the easy appeal of certain brands of black nationalism currently fashionable, but their analysis of those trends is balanced and convincingly argued. In her concluding essay hooks, drawing on her own childhood experiences, writes movingly of the pressures put on black women to reject intellectual pursuits. (Jan.)