Timothy Hallinan's Reviews > Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake-Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia

Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington
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's review
Aug 31, 2012

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

An amazing, even astonishing nonfiction book about the snake-handling religious subculture of Appalachian Pentecostalism, a book that's written with perfect pitch, that involves the narrator down to his toenails and that never, ever, not for one second, condescends to its backwoods subjects, whose woods have been stripped away or ravished for coal, forcing to emerge from Loretta Lynn country blinking at the bright lights and sin of the cities, and retreating even more deeply into their faith.

"You can never get enough of the Holy Ghost . . . You can never exhaust the power when the Spirit comes down, not even when you take up a snake, not even when you take up a dozen of them. The more faith you expend, the more power is released. It's an inexhaustible, eternally renewable resource. It's the only power some of these people have," And I say Amen to writing like that.

I hope Dennis Covington has another book this powerful in him.

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