In A Hard Rain, the estimable Southern journalist Frye Gaillard aims to capture a time when the nation was absorbed with racial violence, sweeping social change, a devastating war, assassinations and a cultural shift that is still playing out 50 years later. The title is from Bob Dylan’s iconic song, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, and his broad subtitle, 'America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost,' is the umbrella for his...account of hundreds of stories, reflections and reports from a decade saturated with transformational events ... He is a gifted storyteller, and I’m giving copies of this book to my sons and daughter to help them understand how we got to now.
...The 1960s was a time of protests over race and war and gender, fueled by rage and sorrow over the assassinations of three now-iconic figures, President John F. Kennedy; his brother Robert, a presidential candidate; and Martin Luther King Jr. Journalist and southern historian Gaillard was a child of that era, and he now presents an intensely personal yet thoroughly vetted and factual account of one of history’s most tumultuous interludes, a detailed, chronological, and illuminating look at pivotal events and influential people. Anyone alive during that time will read this and recall with wonder all that transpired during those 10 years. Anyone born since will experience awe for the overwhelming changes that were wrought during a time as productive as it was destructive.
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. Information was gathered from extensive research, which is identified in a chapter-by-chapter bibliographical essay, and from interviews. Gaillard, himself a young activist at the time, interjects his reactions to various situations ... 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. Most of the issues raised have been examined by others in various histories and biographies, but 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.