A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America

Paperback | May 1, 2014

byGrace Elizabeth Hale

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At mid-century, Americans increasingly fell in love with characters like Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye and Marlon Brando's Johnny in The Wild One, musicians like Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan, and activists like the members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Theseemotions enabled some middle-class whites to cut free of their own histories and identify with those who, while lacking economic, political, or social privilege, seemed to possess instead vital cultural resources and a depth of feeling not found in "grey flannel" America. In this wide-ranging and vividly written cultural history, Grace Elizabeth Hale sheds light on why so many white middle-class Americans chose to re-imagine themselves as outsiders in the second half of the twentieth century and explains how this unprecedented shift changed American culture andsociety. Love for outsiders launched the politics of both the New Left and the New Right. From the mid-sixties through the eighties, it flourished in the hippie counterculture, the back-to-the-land movement, the Jesus People movement, and among fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christians working toposition their traditional isolation and separatism as strengths. It changed the very meaning of "authenticity" and "community." Ultimately, the romance of the outsider provided a creative resolution to an intractable mid-century cultural and political conflict-the struggle between the desire for self-determination and autonomy and the desire for a morally meaningful and authentic life.

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At mid-century, Americans increasingly fell in love with characters like Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye and Marlon Brando's Johnny in The Wild One, musicians like Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan, and activists like the members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Theseemotions enabled some middle-class whites to cut fr...

Grace Elizabeth Hale is Professor of History and American Studies at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940.

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A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America
A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:404 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:May 1, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199314586

ISBN - 13:9780199314584

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Outsiders and RebelsPart I: Learning to Love Outsiders1. Lost Children of Plenty: Growing Up as Rebellion2. Rebel Music: Minstrelsy, Rock and Roll, and Beat Writing3. Black as Folk: The Folk Music Revival, the Civil Rights Movement, and Bob Dylan4. Rebels on the Right: Conservatives as Outsiders in Liberal AmericaPart II: Romance in Action5. The New White Negroes in Action: Students for a Democratic Society, the Economic Research and Action Project, and Freedom Summer6. Too Much Love: Black Power and the Search for Other Outsiders7. The Making of Christian Countercultures: God's Outsiders from the Jesus People to Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority8. Rescue: Christian Outsiders in Action in the Pro-Life MovementConclusion: The Cost of RebellionIndex