Salvation On Sand Mountain: Snake Handling And Redemption in Souther Appalachia

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9780140254587: Salvation On Sand Mountain: Snake Handling And Redemption in Souther Appalachia
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It is Scottsboro, Alabama, in the fall of 1991. A snake-handling preacher by the name of Glendel Buford Summerford has just tried to murder his wife, Darlene, by snakebite. At gunpoint, he forces her to stick her arm in a box of rattlesnakes. She is bitten twice and nearly dies. The trial, which becomes a sensation throughout southern Appalachia, echoes familiar themes from a troubled secular world - marital infidelity, spouse abuse, and alcoholism - but it also raises questions about faith, forgiveness, redemption, and, of course, snakes. Glenn Summerford is convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison. When Dennis Covington covered the trial of Glenn Summerford for The New York Times, a world far beyond the trial opened up to him. Salvation on Sand Mountain begins with a crime and a trial and then becomes an extraordinary exploration of a place, a people, and an author's descent into himself. The place is southern Appalachia - a country deep and unsettled, where the past and its culture collide with the economic and social realities of the present, leaving a residue of rootlessness, anxiety, and lawlessness. All-night video stores and tanning salons stand next to collapsed chicken farms and fundamentalist churches. The people are poor southern whites. Peculiar and insular, they are hill people of Scotch-Irish descent: religious mystics who cast out demons, speak in tongues, drink strychnine, run blowtorches up their arms, and drape themselves with rattlesnakes. There is Charles McGlocklin, the End-Time Evangelist; Cecil Esslinder, the red headed guitar player with the perpetual grin; Aunt Daisy, the prophetess; Brother Carl Porter; Elvis Presley Saylor;Gracie McAllister; Dewey Chafin; and the legendary Punkin Brown, all of whose faith illuminates these pages. And then there is Dennis Covington, himself Scotch-Irish, whose own family came down off of Sand Mountain two generations ago to work in the steel mills of Birmingham, and

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Review:

"Option", 8/15/11
"Heartfelt yet sensational...Covington's memoir is genuinely life-changing."

"Option," 8/15/11
"Heartfelt yet sensational...Covington's memoir is genuinely life-changing."

"Option," 8/15/11
Heartfelt yet sensational Covington s memoir is genuinely life-changing. "

Option, 8/15/11
Heartfelt yet sensational Covington s memoir is genuinely life-changing.

"

Option, 8/15/11
"Heartfelt yet sensational...Covington's memoir is genuinely life-changing."



Option, 8/15/11
-Heartfelt yet sensational...Covington's memoir is genuinely life-changing.-

About the Author:

Dennis Covington teaches creative writing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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