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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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