In a clear-sighted and absorbing work, physician Smith links black men's difficulties in sustaining intimate and family relationships to the dissolution of the black family during slavery and the rise of the racist stereotypes depicting black men as oversexed and black women as promiscuous. Drawing on patient interviews and clinical data, he traces the psychological damage of these false myths, which he believes to have contributed to many men's emphasis on sexual prowess and conquest over true intimacy and moral responsibility. Asserting that "African American men and women have become alienated from each other, in large part because they do not know what the other really needs and wants," he cites a soaring divorce rate and high numbers of single mother households as indicators of the poor health of black relationships, adding that more young black women are choosing to remain single rather than compromise their standards. To overcome these obstacles, Smith clarifies the stages of relationships and women's needs, recommending that black men learn to communicate better, become emotionally supportive and love without restraint or expectation. Meanwhile, he suggests black women provide respect and more positive feedback. Smith also includes sensible information about sexual dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual abuse and the creation of positive sexual role models in an illuminating and practical work that deserves a wide audience. Agent, Barbara Lowenstein; 5-city author tour. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.