In A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost, Gaillard 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 — in 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, Johnny Cash, Harper Lee, Mister Rogers, Rachel Carson, James Baldwin, Andy Warhol, Billy Graham, Thomas Merton, Angela Davis, the Berrigan Brothers, and many others.
“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 historians 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 of a transcendent era.”
Frye Gaillard is a writer in residence at the University of South Alabama and John Egerton Scholar in Residence at the Southern Foodways Alliance at The University of Mississippi. He is the author of more than 30 books, including Go South to Freedom, Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory, and a Southern Family’s Civil War Letters, and The Books That Mattered: A Reader’s Memoir. Gaillard is the winner of the Lillian Smith Award, the Clarence Cason Award for Nonfiction, and most recently, the 2016 Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Distinction in Literary Scholarship.