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Book Cover for: Counterculture: The Story of America from Bohemia to Hip-Hop, Alex Zamalin

Counterculture: The Story of America from Bohemia to Hip-Hop

Alex Zamalin

For young activists and NPR listeners

A political and intellectual history of American counterculture and the historical figures who redefined mainstream understandings of freedom, culture, art, and politics

This entertaining, intellectual history fulfills the growing appetite for marginalized narratives. Counterculture brilliantly interrogates the diversity of counterculture and the interwoven relationship between each individual legacy. From Anarchism to the Harlem Renaissance, Alex Zamalin unveils the humanity behind these romanticized figures and popularized movements to capture revolutionary freedom in action.

American counterculture, defined as a movement whose values are outside and oppositional to mainstream norms and whose practices fundamentally reject what is socially respectable, ultimately transformed the twentieth century.

With key players:
-Emma Goldman
-Billie Holiday
-Allen Ginsberg
-Amiri Baraka
-Jean Michel Basquiat

And key movements:
-Black Bohemia
-The Harlem Renaissance
-The Beat Generation
-The Black Arts Movement

Counterculture reaches new depths, tackling a wide range of historical, social, and political topics, and expanding contemporary understandings of American cultural tradition.

At a time when counterculture was on the outskirts of American society, Alex Zamalin explores the reason why.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Beacon Press
  • Publish Date: Feb 4th, 2025
  • Pages: 296
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00in - 1.25lb
  • EAN: 9780807045183
  • Categories: United States - GeneralActivism & Social JusticeSocial Activists

About the Author

Alex Zamalin is Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. He's an internationally recognized expert on American culture, political theory, and African American politics with six previously published titles. Zamalin is also a regular guest on NPR as well as an invited lecturer at various institutions on issues relating to antiracism, diversity, and culture. He holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center.

Praise for this book

"In Counterculture, Alex Zamalin weaves together so many different threads into a riveting tapestry of stories of people who dared to dream, to see beyond what already exists. These are the often inspiring, often flawed shoulders upon which we all stand and to whom we owe an immense debt of gratitude. Zamalin celebrates the legacy of so many people who dared to ask 'What if?' and who left the powerful legacies celebrated here. What do you want your own legacy to be? How will future generations celebrate you?"
--Rob Hopkins, cofounder of the Transition movement and author of From What Is to What If

"For too long, the very word 'counterculture' has served as a synonym for mindless self-indulgence. Alex Zamalin's Counterculture provides a compelling alternative to that dismissive view. With vast learning and literary grace, Zamalin reconstructs a powerful American countercultural tradition, stretching from Walt Whitman and Emma Goldman to Allen Ginsberg and Amiri Baraka--all of them engaged in a morally serious search for a more humane and capacious way of life. Counterculture brings much-needed historical depth to contemporary debates about the meaning of American democracy."
--Jackson Lears, author of Animal Spirits: The American Pursuit of Vitality from Camp Meeting to Wall Street

"Alex Zamalin reminds us that countercultures can be, and throughout history have been, more than a lifestyle choice or a market to exploit: they are platforms for experimentation with radical new ways of being, feeling, thinking, and acting. Counterculture, and the stories of the cultural rebels it tells so well, are the necessary antidote to convention, no matter what its ideology."
--Stephen Duncombe, author of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy

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