The Alabama Dept. of Archives and History continued its popular Food for Thought series last Thursday the 15th as Mobile author Frye Gaillard was on hand to discuss his latest book, "A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost." In it, Gaillard offers a sweeping panorama of the social movements, political upheaval, music, and cultural changes from the sexual revolution to the space race. The book is in fact a comprehensive history of the '60s, from the inauguration of President Kennedy to his assassination, and the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. The Vietnam War is covered, as are the scary times of the Cuban Missal Crisis in 1962.

Included in the book also are San Francisco's Summer of Love in 1967, the violent protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention, and the historic, 1969 moon landing. Gaillard also examines the racial politics of leading political figures such as Barry Goldwater's view of limited government. Aside from civil rights, social unrest, black power, and women's liberation, he examines the cultural manifestations of change--music, literature, art, religion, and science.

Janice Joplin is mentioned, Johnny Cash, the Beatles, Billy Graham, George Wallace, Richard Nixon, and even Mister Rogers. Indeed, Frye Gaillard covers just about everything associated with the decade of the 1960s. You can find the book at New South Books here in Montgomery. A Hard Rain is the winner of the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Literary Prize, and named by NPR as one of the Great Reads of 2018. Gaillard is Writer in Residence at the University of South Alabama, and the author of more than 25 books on American history. He has received numerous awards for this writing, including the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Clarence Carson Award, and the Eugene Current-Garcia Award. Gaillard currently holds a joint appointment at USA in the Departments of Communication and English.

Food for Thought is made possible by the Friends of the Alabama Archives and a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.