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Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life.

Those who value the life of the mind will find Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life a veritable blessing on many counts. These engaging dialogues acquaint readers with two key African-American thinkers: bell hooks (her spelling), Oberlin College professor of English and Women's Studies and author of Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black, and Cornel West, Princeton University professor of Theology and Afro-American Studies and author of Prophetic Fragments.

In it, the due tell how and why they became career intellectuals. They also affirm that critical thinking need not be a purely academic, souless affair. They more than once despair of the fact that, as West puts it, "Few intellectuals fuse intellectual power with deep moral concern and political engagement." Thus, the book is also a plea for thinking folk--within and without academe--to become more actively involved in correcting black America's plight. This plight, the duo say, stems from a breakdown of ethics, care, service and responsibility--a breakdown of love.

Hooks and West give us a taste of activist intellectualism as they talk about racism, sexism, consumerism, individualism, hedonism and nihilism.

But Breaking Bread is more than talk about "isms." The two dissect fashion, music, film and books including those by Shelby Steele and Shahrazad Ali. You may not agree with everything they say, but you applaud them for their constructive black-on-black criticism. The book lacks malice and carries a message of hope attesting to the authors' love for their people and commitment to their salvation.
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Author:Bolden, Tonya
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1992
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