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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

We all wear hoods: the Grim Reaper, Red Riding Hood, torturers, executioners and the executed, athletes, laborers, anarchists, rappers, babies in onesies, and anyone who's ever grabbed a hoodie on a chilly day. Alison Kinney's Hood explores the material and symbolic vi
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 28th 2016 by Bloomsbury Academic
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  103 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Laura I.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book does a LOT for such a short volume. Kinney takes on executions, the KKK, the inquisition and torture, modern torture in the 20th and 21st centuries, black bloc protest groups & their treatment by authorities, and finally the racial profiling that is connected to hoods and hoodies. The quotes and anecdotes she relates are familiar and horrifying, from the Archbishop of York (the first black bishop and archbishop of the Church of England), being pulled over for the 8th time in 2000 by po ...more
Sarah Baker
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“The history of the hood is a history of power and powerlessness. It’s about acts of hatred, domination, and destruction but also of control of what exactly people’s hoods, and their lives, mean.”
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-books
This is a history of the hood as its used as a symbol in art and social and political topics.

The first chapter talks about hoods used to symbolize death or the grim reaper. It gives a history of the hood and the myths behind hoods in executions and capital punishment.

The second chapter talks about the history of the hood in terrorism and war. The author goes into detail about the events at Guantanamo and the atrocities carried out on the prisoners at Abi Ghraib.

The third chapters discusses wo
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-read

This is the second book I've read in Bloomsbury Academic's "Object Lessons" series. I thought this book, a brief cultural history of hoods in mostly American/European culture was exactly what I was hoping for. Kinney illustrates the way these hoods have been used as rhetorical devices, capable of conveying their own sinister meanings. Unfortunately, the hood is often associated with acts of violence and terror: hoods have been used by executioners, torturers at Abu Ghraib,and the KKK. (Side note
Mar 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
At last, I thought, it's actually about the hood and hoodie as I know it, and we're in chapter 4 of 5. Before then we'd looked at people who wear hoods, mostly from the aspect of those who don't wear hoods (mediaeval executioners, it turns out – the victims' being given hoods, as opposed to those committing capital punishment, is still a matter of debate; and the KKK, at some times in their life). But that doesn't mean the book was even then interesting or worthwhile. The rank left-wing bias of ...more
Joseph Spuckler
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Hood by Alison Kinney is a look at a common feature of clothing throughout history and legend. Kinney is a writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in The Hairpin, The Literary Review, and Gastronomica.

Since moving to Texas, I look forward to fall. It's the short time of year where I can wear a hoodie. As a kid in Cleveland through the 1970s a hoodie was part of everyday clothing. Worn alone in the fall or under a denim jacket and down vest. It was that universal comfort clothing. Today
A Reader's Heaven
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
We all wear hoods: the Grim Reaper, Red Riding Hood, torturers, executioners and the executed, athletes, laborers, anarchists, rappers, babies in onesies, and anyone who's ever grabbed a hoodie on a chilly day. Alison Kinney's Hood explores the material and symbolic vibrancy of this everyday garment and p
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
What was meant as a cheeky gift in tribute to my love of hoodies turned out to be a delightful find! Part of a series called "Object Lessons" that elevates, explores, and celebrates ordinary things, Kinney's analysis of how a hood has evolved in meaning and utility over time is entertaining and insightful. Quick, energetic, writing with a diversity of references- a thought provoking read. ...more
L.E. Fidler
An interesting look into the complex social history of the hood...considering using excerpts in conjunction with pieces from "Citizen" and The Hate U Give... ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A book that concentrates on the humble hood, its use, symbolism and meaning. The cover has a rather medieval Robin Hood style hood, which put 'history' very firmly in my head. So, in fact this book was not what I expected. That's not to say it's not interesting or well written, but it concentrates very heavily on the American experience. It's mostly the history of the hood in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The first quarter of the book is exclusively the symbolism of the hood in terms of the execut
When Trayvon Martin was shot, there was a movement to blame what he was wearing (a hooded sweatshirt) for his death. A young black man should apparently know better than to wear a hoodie out and about in public. Never mind that Trayvon was a 17 year-old kid who was threatening only to the Skittles he was carrying with him, never mind that Trayvon was a human being who should have been able to wear whatever the damn hell he pleased while going about his own business. A hooded sweatshirt, obscurin ...more
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
As a history of the garment in the title, Hood is superficial, pun very much intended. Kinney clearly was only peripherally interested in thinking about hoods as such, as manifest in numerous contexts throughout history and as related to other sartorial practices, especially those involving the face. She was only fleetingly (and superficially) interested in how hoods create meaning.

The book is really about Black Lives Matter, and how the hoodie helps us think about recent manifestations of syst
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: obom-candidates
Hood by Alison Kinney is one in a series called Object Lessons, “a book series about the hidden lives of ordinary things,” including detailed references to the sources used. The hood is indeed an ordinary item of clothing but it has a complex history of symbolic use, from the Grim Reaper to the Ku Klux Klan and beyond. It is not until Kinney gets to the topic of hoodlums and hoodies, however, that the narrative comes alive. As civil right marches did in the 1960s, gatherings of protesters wearin ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Much more powerful than the design history book I was expecting. Grows to an emotionally powerful conclusion about a garment that whatever it is, always frames the human face. Really impressed with something I picked up at the V&A museum on a lark.
Laura Hoffman Brauman
I thought the concepts explored in here were interesting, but it felt like the author was trying too hard to make it read like an academic text. It could be a reader issue, but several times I had to go back and re-read sections to understand her point. There were also times in the text that she would make a side comment regarding something related to the topic and it diminished the effectiveness of some of her perspectives. I love this series, but this one wasn't my favorite. ...more
Mar 26, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting, thought-provoking and well-researched exploration of an everyday item – the hood; its origin, meaning and symbolism and the way the wearing of one has often become a political act. From fairy tales to the Grim Reaper, the Inquisition to the Ku Klux Klan, Robin Hood to executioners – all have worn hoods and in our own times hoods and hoodies have gained a reputation far from being simply items of clothing worn for protection. I enjoyed the book, but found the latter half less enga ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
"The Hood" is a social history about the way we use hoods and what they have come to stand for. It's about the role hoods have played in justice and injustice and how hoods are used to define and control people.

When looking at historical uses of hoods, it was usually to point out that they didn't actually use hoods or they didn't use the hoods they're depicted as wearing in later paintings or movies. The author looked at how hoods are used to dehumanize the victims in executions, terrorism, tort
Martina Clark
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"Hood" is a great overview of the history of hoods and all that implies. It was a bit hard to get into but well worth plowing through to what ended up being an excellent read.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read this if you want to learn how to belabor a point

Less a book about the cultural, historical, fashionable, literary, and artistic uses of hoods and more one authors repetitive diatribe on how the hood is used by racists and state sponsored terrorists. I get it...bad people in government use hoods when they're doing bad things to both conceal themselves and their crimes. Just when you start reading a new chapter and think she's going to discuss some other quality about hoods (as we expect from
May 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Another Object Lesson short that I very much wanted to enjoy but found wanting in both its writing style and its approach to the object. Maybe, however, these lessons just aren't my jam. Either way, I don't think the editing does this entry any favors. In particular, Ms. Kinney leans hard on quotes from speeches, songs, poems, etc., a crutch that a hard-hearted editor should have kicked out from under her in the early go-rounds, especially given that this volume is only 176 pages. An opportunity ...more
Jacqueline Scott
May 06, 2016 rated it liked it
After the mini-book started with loosely having some sort of thesis in the first chapter, it quickly fell apart into incoherent babble about random incidences in history when hoods were worn. So much lost potential, I was really hoping the criminalization of the hood (Black Lives Matter protests, the Trayvon Martin murder, among so many other tragic topical incidences) would be a major theme, not relegated to about 8 pages at the end of the text.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it

The history of the hood is a history of power and powerlessness. That [Trayvon Martin's] hoodie came to mean something else was not of his doing, and that's precisely why it matters.

I've read a lot of Alison's writing online, but this is her first book. I appreciate her conversational tone as she explores the cultural meaning of hoods throughout history, ranging from ancient times through The Inquisition, Abu Ghraib, and Trayvon Martin.

Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
The book tries to posit a meaning for the hood, but does so after bringing up so many contradictory ideas, and even many where a hood isn't even involved, that it is just sort of incoherent. I get that the meaning changes with use (KKK, Abu Ghraib, Trayvon Martin), but then just say that. This was Lacan level convoluted. Some interesting parts though. ...more
Nicole Geub
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
the last two chapters were on point! really a provocative look at what the hood means to people of certain times. torture. identity. taking a stand. uniting people. destroying people. this is a rather unique read and totally will make you think about where you stand.
interested yet? I'll let you borrow the book!
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, essay
Mills College Library
391.43 K558 2016
Jason Diamond
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've been meaning to read the books in this series and Alison Kinney's contribution to it makes me think I should dig into all of the Object Lessons ASAP. ...more
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Alison Kinney is the author of the nonfiction book HOOD (Bloomsbury 2016, Object Lessons Series).

Her essays and articles on cultural history, art, opera, literature, and social justice can be found online at Paris Review Daily, The New Yorker, Harper's, Lapham's Quarterly, Hyperallergic, Longreads, and other publications.

“Provocative and highly informative, Alison Kinney's HOO

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