The title of San Francisco writer Dennis McNally’s new book sounds scholarly and serious — “On Highway 61: Race, Music and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom.” But the subject matter is lively.

As the author of “Desolate Angel,” about Beat era icon Jack Kerouac, and “A Long Strange Trip,” about The Grateful Dead, McNally has made a specialty of American music and pop culture, stemming from his 25 years as publicist for the Grateful Dead.

For his latest book, McNally, 64, researched the roots of the ‘60s cultural revolution and traced the link between young white Americans and African-American music.

“For me, it all came together in the story of Bob Dylan, whose music had at least as many black sources as white, and returned to the black-white fusion that is rock ‘n’ roll as his career matured,” McNally said.

McNally will read from “On Highway 61” and answer questions at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, at Readers Books, 130 Napa St., Sonoma.

Information: 939-1779, readersbooks.com.

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