The Corporate Professor   /   Spring 2012   /    Book Reviews

The Romance of the Rebel

Edward J.K. Gitre

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.; Rowland Scherman, National Archives and Records Administration [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Anyone wanting to know when “going rogue” became fashionable would do well to read this book.

What did the actor James Dean have to do with the Baptist founder of the Moral Majority Jerry falwell? In her artfully rendered study, grace elizabeth Hale portrays a connection brimming with cultural signi - cance. Her new book, A Nation of Outsiders, opens with two questions. Why, in the second half of the twentieth century, did so many white, middle- class americans, the majority of them youth, liken themselves to “outsiders”? and, second, what were the e ects of this identi- fication on american culture and society? In her hunt for answers, Hale could have stuck with the stock gures of mid- century rebellion—the Deans and the Presleys. But instead she widened the orbit, encom- passing a range of characters, not only Dean and falwell, Jack Kerouac and Norman Mailer, but also the neo-conser- vative William f. Buckley and the folk singers Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Woody guthrie, as well as Vietnam protestors, leaders of Students for a Democratic Society and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Jesus People, Hippies, Yippies, and radical New Right activists. e lineup is impressive, as is the choreography. The author casts fresh light on the storied New Left and Sixties student movement. She illuminates as well convergences between the Civil Rights Movement and the folk music revival (this is the

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