It is a little difficult to give a cogent summary of Hooks' Taking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black because the volume is a collect of 23 thematically disparate essays reflecting Hooks' Marxist literary ideology. The essays in Talking Back cover themes as diverse as teaching women's literature to racists feminists and political attitudes at Yale.
While praised for her intellect and perspective, critics pronounced the volume to be ineffectual, unconvincing and not reflective of Hooks' own literary voice. However, Hooks' African American readers speak of the debt they owe her (whose real name is Gloria Watts) for helping them to perceive their own personal experiences within a broad context that does allow for recreating perceptions, recreating expressions of self and community that deviate from traditional perceptions and expressions otherness.
Bell Hooks, which she writes as bell hooks, writes in a casual tone. She states in the Chapter 1 of Talking Back that her aim in writing is to bring exposure to the "private places," where domination can germinate, and connect it to the "public places" of experience.
It has been a political struggle for me to hold to the belief that there is much [that black people] must speak about, much that is private that must be openly shared, if we are to heal our wounds ... (Chapter 1) ... To speak when not spoken to was a courageous act--an act of risk and daring (Chapter 2).