A Nation of Outsiders : How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America by Grace Elizabeth Hale
Shop on Better World Books


From the rebellious Marlon Brando in The Wild One to the protest music of Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, Americans in the 1950s increasingly embraced figures they understood as outsiders, using them to re-imagine their own cultural position as marginal and alienated. In this wide-ranging and vividly written cultural history, Grace Elizabeth Hale sheds light on why so many white middle-class people decided to see themselves as outsiders and how this unprecedented shift changed American culture and society. She shows that encounters with so-called outsiders--from the Beat poets to Elvis Presley--enabled increasing numbers of middle-class whites to cut themselves free of their own histories and to 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. This romance of the outsider would ultimately spark wide changes in society, from hippie counterculture to the renewal of fundamentalist Christianity, whose believers began to see their isolation and separatism as strengths.


Better World Books

You may also like