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


Product Details

$35.00  $32.20
NewSouth Books
Publish Date
6.4 X 1.7 X 9.3 inches | 2.5 pounds
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About the Author

Frye Gaillard is an award-winning journalist with over 30 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 Go South to Freedom. His most recent book, A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost, is considered by some to be his masterwork. It was selected as one of NPR's Best Books of 2018. 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. In 2019, Gaillard was awarded the Alabama Governor's Arts Award for his contributions to literature.


A totally absorbing read! Frye Gaillard takes us there and makes it all so real that we forget we're reading. Older readers will feel young, uncertain, and idealistic again. Younger readers will hope to find the courage of the 1960's -- in politics, artistic expression, science -- to improve the lot of all humankind on this precious earth. Gaillard's A Hard Rain is worthy of the best literary prizes our country can bestow. -- Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits, and Abundance
With graceful prose and a storyteller's eye, Frye Gaillard captures the hope and tragedy of the 1960s, one of the pivotal decades in American history. Beginning with the idealism of the civil rights movement, and ending with the violence both at home and abroad brought about by the war in Vietnam, Gaillard offers a dimensioned portrait of a nation straining toward its highest ideals. Many published books report on some aspect of the history, but rare is the account that is as comprehensive and personal. A masterwork. -- Morris Dees, Southern Poverty Center co-founder
There is a bittersweet pleasure in reading A Hard Rain, Frye Gaillard's very personal account of the 1960s, and the subtitle captures our ambivalence: Our Decade of Hope, Possibility and Innocence Lost. Gaillard's graceful narrative may be about a past decade, but he speaks to the present for the lost opportunities and the moral and political failures of the 1960s have returned to haunt us today. --Dan Carter, Education Foundation, University Professor Emeritus, University of South Carolina
A child of the Sixties and one of the leading civil-rights reporters of his generation, Frye Gaillard has given us a riveting tour along what he calls the fine line between history and journalism. As a reporter he has witnessed a great deal and interviewed many of the key figures of the decade that shaped America's future while breaking its heart. As a scholar he has read widely and thought deeply about our nation's halting pursuit of justice and mercy for all. A Hard Rain is essential reading for a time when an American president has willfully ignored the hard-earned lessons from our passage through the most tumultuous decade of social change since the Civil War. -- Howell Raines, Former Executive Editor of The New York Times, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
The Sixties had it all -- social movements and space exploration, once-in-a-generation musicians and once-in-a-lifetime martyrs, a Cold War and a hot one, too. A Hard Rain beautifully ties it all together in poetic prose that makes the pain and pleasure, tragedy and triumph of these tumultuous years come alive. Whether you came of age during the Sixties like author Frye Gaillard or were born after it like me, A Hard Rain is the new starting point for anyone who wants to understand the most impactful decade of the 20th century. -- Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Professor of History, Ohio State University, author of Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama's Black Belt.
Frye Gaillard has written a sweeping and yet penetrating account of the 1960s, recalling not only the famous activists and leaders but also the musicians, artists and writers whose work helped shape that tumultuous era. It's a deeply personal account as well -- a story of a young man grappling with our nation's dark history and seeking to propel it toward a more promising future. Rare is the book that combines the personal with the historical in such a powerful way. -- Cynthia Tucker, syndicated columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner
Frye Gaillard has long been one of the South's most imaginative popular historians, and his remarkable gift for combining history and memory has never been more apparent than in his new book on the 1960s, A Hard Rain. Of the many books that have tried to capture the spirit and meaning of this tumultuous decade, A Hard Rain is surely among the best. Gaillard's mastery of the art of storytelling, along with his unerring accuracy in characterizing the era's leading political and cultural figures, turns his personal reflections into compelling and insightful history. -- Raymond Arsenault, author of Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice
Frye Gaillard's A Hard Rain brings us back to the 1960s, a remarkable era when the Civil Rights Movement struggled, in a time of racial strife and violence, to "save the soul of America"; when a young president's idealism created the Peace Corps, and challenged his country to put a man on the moon; when a sexual and cultural revolution swept over a new generation; and when the U.S. became embroiled in the increasingly unpopular and unwinnable War in Vietnam and an unfought war on poverty at home. Gaillard brings those who lived through those days back to a time of Kennedys and King, and those who did not to an understanding of a decade that continues to reach into and define our present moment. -- Theodore Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the UNC Center for Civil Rights
A Hard Rain is a smart, readable survey, at once personal and universal, of a decade that is still under debate today. Taking a broadly synoptic view, Frye Gaillard focuses on small moments that yielded huge effects. The battle against racial division quickly emerges as a major theme in Gaillard's narrative, with mileposts such as Thurgood Marshall's key role in Supreme Court decisions about how it wasn't enough simply not to segregate; integration was required, too. An illuminating, you-are-there view of events on the ground in the turbulent 1960s. -- Kirkus Reviews
I'm swept away by how comprehensive A Hard Rain is, by its anecdotal style, its readability, the range of topics, ambition of the undertaking, and emotionality and intellectual integrity of the author. There has been a lot of attention these last few years to the 1960s as any number of fiftieth anniversaries have been celebrated. But these have been like drum solos. Frye Gaillard's book, with its mixture of the personal and scholarly, with its weaving together of so many stories, is simply symphonic. This is great work. -- Malcolm Margolin, author and award-winning editor and founder of Heyday and News from Native California
An enlightening picture of America at a historic juncture. -- Publishers Weekly Starred Review
A Hard Rain traces the history of the raucous decade in which Frye Gaillard and this writer both grew up. The resulting work is one of those culmination-of-a-life's-work books most non-fiction writers can only dream about. The book is an a powerful, engaging mix of concise, hard reporting with a strong narrative thrust and a personal touch. It's also a great read, in Gaillard's trademark knowledgeable but casual, nearly conversational style. A jaw-dropping popular history of the 1960s. -- John Grooms, Creative Loafing
As a history, A Hard Rain is exhaustive, recounting not only well-known events such as the Kennedy assassinations and the March on Washington but also dozens of less publicized incidents that spoke to the national mood. Frye Gaillard excels at weaving his own experiences of the decade without distracting from the overall narrative, and his research brings long forgotten events to the fore. A full-scale, flowing journey through the decade." -- Library Journal
The great strength of A Hard Rain is that the author deftly weaves together a narrative of people -- some well-known and some less so -- and their recollections. A Hard Rain has a broad sweep. It is impressive that the author was able to treat so many topics and details while maintaining a highly readable story. The synthesis here is superb. For those seeking to revisit a formative time in their life, or for others looking for an introduction to a hinge point of history, this is a terrific book. -- Joseph A. Esposito, Washington Independent Review of Books
A Hard Rain vividly conveys the ethical and spiritual dimensions of hope, possibility, and innocence lost during this change-filled decade. An impressive book of cultural criticism . -- Spirituality & Practice
A Hard Rain is an ambitious examination of the United States during the Sixties from multiple perspectives, from political and pop culture to the author's own personal experiences. The book is ideal for anyone who wants to do a deep dive into America in the Sixties. Gaillard has a particular talent for connecting the dots between past events and the present day and an engaging writing style. A Hard Rain would be a rich resource for any library. -- Tennessee Library Association
If you lived through the 1960s and still don't have a handle on that kaleidoscopic era, or if you've heard about the wacky Sixties and want to understand them, then run, don't walk, to your nearest bookseller and buy A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility and Innocence Lost. -- Martha's Vineyard Times