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 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. Against this backdrop, and at some leisure in a long but not overlong book, the author examines the racial politics of leading political figures such as Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson, whose use of race in political calculus was not always effective ... An illuminating, you-are-there view of events on the ground in the turbulent 1960s.