It is not a typo when you see the name of this author appear as bell hooks. The lack of capitalization of her name is a conscious choice intended, at one level, to be a statement consistent with her status as social critic. She is a writer famous for looking straight into the heart of social discourse and not flinching from asserting her opinion of the truth. Such is the fundamental nature of her 2000 publication, All About Love: New Visions.
For a black writer, it should come as no surprise that the critique of the social fabric of modern society which informs the writing of hooks deals intensely with the concept of racism. One cannot tell from the name bell hooks that the author is black, of course, but also significant is that one does not immediately leap to any conclusions about gender. Race is only part of the equation that informs the perspective of bell hooks, another is gender. For a black woman, this criticism of society is fundamentally shaped by twin defects of oppression: racism and patriarchy. And it is primarily—though hardly exclusively—on the influence of patriarchal ideology which is origin and subject of All About Love.
This narrative was written with the full entirety of the 20th century in the mirror. The dawn of a new millennium seemed to hooks to be one which on the subject of love, as she flatly asserts, youth culture had become cynical. The stimulus behind the creation of this book was the author’s chronological inevitability of confronting the fact that death was starting to take a real shape rather than remaining distant and theoretical. A cancer scare shifted the barometer of obsession from death to just how and why love had suddenly become something entire generations no longer trusted.
The book offers no direct answer to that question but is rather framed as an examination of the various types of love that exist in the world tempered by the author’s own personal experiences and the social critic’s awareness that American society has always been and continues to be inequitably influenced by undying patriarchal desire to gain power and retain it.
Although not always officially designated as so, All About Love: New Visions has consistently been regarded by many critics and scholars of hooks the first volume in a loose trilogy of books that examine and analyze the place and status held by love within the social discourse. The other two books in this trilogy are Salvation: Black People and Love and Communion: The Female Search for Love, both of which were published in 2002.