A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost

A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost

by Frye Gaillard


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An NPR Best Book of 2018

A 2021 Alabama Library Association Author Award Winner

Frye Gaillard has given us a deeply personal history, bringing his keen storyteller’s eye to this pivotal time in American life. He explores the competing story arcs of tragedy and hope through the political and social movements of the times — civil rights, black power, women’s liberation, the War in Vietnam, and the protests against it. But he also examines the cultural manifestations of change — music, literature, art, religion, and science — and so we meet not only the Brothers Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, but also Gloria Steinem, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Harper Lee, Mister Rogers, Rachel Carson, James Baldwin, Andy Warhol, Billy Graham, Thomas Merton, George Wallace, Richard Nixon, Angela Davis, Barry Goldwater, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Berrigan Brothers.

“There are many different ways to remember the sixties,” Gaillard writes, “and this is mine. There was in these years the sense of a steady unfolding of time, as if history were on a forced march, and the changes spread to every corner of our lives. As future generations debate the meaning of the decade, I hope to offer a sense of how it felt to have lived it. A Hard Rain is one writer’s reconstruction and remembrance of a transcendent era — one that, for better or worse, lives with us still.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588383440
Publisher: NewSouth Books
Publication date: 08/28/2018
Pages: 704
Sales rank: 262,570
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Frye Gaillard is an award-winning journalist with over 20 published works on Southern history and culture, including Watermelon Wine; Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America; The Books That Mattered: A Reader’s Memoir; Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory, and a Southern Family’s Civil War Letters; and, most recently, Go South to Freedom. Writer-in-residence at the University of South Alabama, he is also John Egerton Scholar in Residence at the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi. He is the winner of the Clarence Cason Award for Nonfiction Writing, the Lillian Smith Book Award, and the Eugene Current-Garcia Award For Distinction in Literary Scholarship.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Part I Possibilities 1

1 The Movement 2

2 The Voices 13

3 JFK 24

4 The Pill and Other Changes 35

5 Out With the Old 44

6 Reality Check 56

7 The Wall 68

8 Sixty-One Dingers 78

9 Tie Words of Change 85

10 The Rainbow Sign 97

11 Ole Miss 102

12 The Missiles and the Making of JFK 113

13 Setting the Stage 128

14 'A Line in the Dust' 132

15 Murder and Dreams 143

16 Women's Voices 154

17 Birmingham and Dallas 162

18 The Warren Commission 172

Part II Inspiration/Loss 177

19 LBJ 178

20 The British Invasion 189

21 Freedom Summer 200

22 Cynicism and Free Speech 212

23 Landslide 225

24 Keepers of the Dream 237

25 The Blood of Malcolm 241

26 Marches and Martyrs 249

27 Billy Graham Speaks 259

28 Vietnam 262

29 Rebellion in California 273

30 Grapes of Wrath 281

31 The Sounds of Music 286

32 A Nation at War 292

33 RFK 304

34 Black Power 316

35 Music in Alabama 324

36 'In Cold Blood' 328

37 'Is God Dead?' 338

38 'You Have the Right' 349

39 'We Are All Mississippians' 356

40 Measures of Progress 365

41 Dispatches 368

42 The Road to Riverside 376

43 Rockwell and the Power of Art 388

44 'Burn, Baby, Burn' 393

45 Long, Hot Summer of 1967 404

46 Summer of Love 413

47 Joplin and Ronstadt 423

48 Mr. Justice Marshall 429

49 Jonathan Kozol and Mister Rogers 441

50 The War at Home 447

51 A Philadelphia Story 459

52 The Movies 464

53 Dump Johnson 468

54 The Last Campaigns 475

55 Grief and Rage 489

56 Indiana 499

57 'Is Everybody Okay?' 503

58 The Shadow of Death 512

59 Chicago 516

60 A Southern Strategy 527

61 The Global Sixties 536

62 Earthrise 542

Part III The Unfinished Story 547

63 President Nixon 548

64 After Black Power, Women's Liberation 555

65 The Specter of Busing 567

66 The Burning River 571

67 Stonewall 580

68 Dylan, Woodstock, and Cash 586

69 'One Small Step' 594

70 Toward a Bloody Ending 602

71 Homecoming 613

72 Redemption 617

Notes and Acknowledgments 626

Index 666


Frye Gaillard is one of Alabama’s most important and prolific writers. The author of a shelf of books, he has written about religion, politics, music and, recently, the civil rights movement. A Hard Rain is, without a doubt, his biggest, most ambitious, and finest work to date. In it, Gaillard’s prose flows, hot, at times so passionate it reaches the level of poetry. He has brought to bear a lifetime of observing, listening, interviewing, researching and has brought his expertise in many areas to bear on this big — 550 pages — study of the 1960s. — Don Noble, Alabama Public Radio

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