When the University of Texas at Austin decided to close the Cactus Cafe, a tiny live-music venue tucked into a campus corner, it sparked a months-long rebellion that drew campus and community into heated debates about art vs. commerce, the generation gap, and even the value of college football. As Austin citizens, students, and administrators waged a war of words, activists - mobilizing through social media, mass meetings, and the mainstream press - spearheaded an astonishing and ultimately successful preservation effort. Relying heavily on the voices of participants, "Cactus Burning: Austin, Texas and the Battle for the Iconic Cactus Cafe" honors the culture-crusaders who joined the Cactus' cause, while serving as an essential primer for everyone struggling to save their own local heritage. Artists as diverse as Townes Van Zandt, Jason Mraz, and Black Francis of The Pixies - along with countless others – have graced the stage of the nationally renowned, 30-year-old Cactus, a room with a storied past and a stature that is hard to overstate. At only 150 seats, it has long been a favorite among musicians and fans alike for its sacred listening-room experience and general air of intimacy. To the citizens of Austin, which proudly proclaims itself “the live music capital of the world,” the Cactus is simply a priceless cultural treasure and a mainstay of a vibrant live-music scene. Forced on the defensive, university administrators first blamed the closure on economic concerns. Then, in a calculated attempt to defuse tension, they shifted gears and argued that it was due to student desires for a different kind of cafe. Their new mantra was, in effect, "the kids did it," a contention that many of those same "kids" challenged vigorously. Rising above the noise, a group of students and community members joined forces. Using rallies, petitions, fundraising, and education, they compelled an embarrassed university to embrace its own multi-faceted mission statement, one that called for both promotion of the arts and service to the general public. Author Michael F. Scully, who was himself part of the Cactus crusade, tells this story from the beginning to its unexpected end. Drawing upon internal university documents, press accounts, social media postings, and his own 30 interviews with key participants, he couples scrupulous research with a reporter's insight and thoughtful prose. The result is a narrative of hope - one that will inspire others to support, and even save, the local institutions that matter most to them.