384 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 37 halftones, notes, index
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5488-1
Published: February 2020
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6405-7
Published: February 2021
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Awards & distinctions
2021 Malcom Bell, Jr. and Muriel Barrow Bell Award, Georgia Historical Society
In Athens in the eighties, if you were young and willing to live without much money, anything seemed possible. Cool Town reveals the passion, vitality, and enduring significance of a bohemian scene that became a model for others to follow. Grace Elizabeth Hale experienced the Athens scene as a student, small-business owner, and band member. Blending personal recollection with a historian's eye, she reconstructs the networks of bands, artists, and friends that drew on the things at hand to make a new art of the possible, transforming American culture along the way. In a story full of music and brimming with hope, Hale shows how an unlikely cast of characters in an unlikely place made a surprising and beautiful new world.
About the Author
Grace Elizabeth Hale is the Commonwealth Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Virginia. Her previous books include A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America and Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890–1940.
For more information about Grace Elizabeth Hale, visit the Author Page.
"Delivers more than a love song to the music. Cool Town also serves up a textured portrait of a generation caught between baby and tech booms, wriggling under the thumb of the mainstream--in the pre-internet days when 'mainstream' was a discernible thing--and rummaging through thrift-store bins both literal and figurative in an effort to create something new."--New York Times Book Review
"Hale's rich, personal narrative draws readers in. . . . This colorfully rendered reverie will delight indie music fans."--Publishers Weekly
"Both a historian and a participant in the music scene, Hale crafts a lively account of 1980s Athens: the artists, their stories, and the haunts they frequented, such as the Grit and the 40 Watt Club."--Library Journal
"A carefully constructed history of how Athens, Georgia became a cultural hot spot. . . . A welcome history of an overlooked milieu, one that provides ample inspiration for art makers today."--Kirkus Reviews
"Captivating. . . . A deeply researched, highly engaging history of the Athens music scene."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"While the Athens buzz may have been manufactured, Athens is a very real place, and Hale writes with real passion about her formative years there."--The Current's Rock and Roll Book Club, Minnesota Public Radio