Deep South: Memory and Observation

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Press: University of Georgia Press (April 1, 1995)
Publication Date:1995-4
ISBN:9780820317168
Author Name:Caldwell, Erskine
Pages:272
Language:English

Content

Portraying a region steeped religious piety and ritual, excess and prejudice, Deep South is a product both of Erskine Caldwell the storyteller and Erskine Caldwell the minister's son.Reverend Ira Sylvester Caldwell's missionary work took him and his family deep into the region commonly referred to as the Bible Belt. 
His son, Erskine, was at his side on innumerable home visits with the elderly, sick, and poor of Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Florida.
By the time the younger Caldwell left home at seventeen, he had also witnessed such varieties of religious experience as "Church of God all-night camp meetings, Holy Roller exhibitions on splintery wooden floors, primitive Christian baptismal immersions in muddy creeks, Seventh-Day Adventist foot-washings, Body of Christ blood-drinking communions, Kingdom of God snakehandlings, Full Redeemer glossolalia services, Fire Baptized Holiness street-corner rallies, Catholic mass at midnight on Christmas Eve, the rituals of Jewish synagogues, and .
.
.
philosophical lectures in Unitarian churches."Decades later, Caldwell drew on this fertile background when he toured Georgia and neighboring states in order to hear firsthand from ministers and churchgoers about how southern Protestantism was faring amid the social upheaval of the mid-1960s.
Deep South offers a rich mix of anecdotes, memories, interviews, and observations that point to what may be the true essence of southern spirituality.

From the Back Cover

Portraying a region steeped in religious piety and ritual, excess and prejudice, Deep South is a product both of Erskine Caldwell the storyteller and Erskine Caldwell the minister's son. 
Rev.
Ira Sylvester Caldwell's missionary work took him and his family deep into the Bible Belt.
By the time Erskine Caldwell left home at seventeen, he had witnessed such varieties of religious experience as all-night camp meetings, baptismal immersions in muddy creeks, snakehandlings, street-corner rallies, and midnight mass.
Decades later, Caldwell drew on this fertile background when he toured the region in order to hear firsthand from ministers and churchgoers about how southern protestantism was faring amid the social upheaval of the mid-1960s.
Deep South offers a rich mix of anecdotes, memories, interviews, and observations that points to what may he the true essence of southern spirituality.

About the Author

Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987) was born in Newnan, Georgia. 
He became one of America's most widely read, prolific, and critically debated writers, with a literary output of more than sixty titles.
At the time of his death, Caldwell's books had sold eighty million copies worldwide in more than forty languages.
He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1984.

Tags

Religion & Spirituality,Religious Studies,Sociology,Christian Books & Bibles,Christian Denominations & Sects,Protestantism,Pentecostal & Charismatic,Biographies & Memoirs,Arts & Literature,Authors



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  •     In this small book Erskine Caldwell shares with us his memories of his father and the world of southern religion. You are transported back in time where the more bizarre the religious expression was in the south, the better. Caldwell shows the excesses of religion and the struggle for southern churches to acquire more respectability as their economic status becomes more stable. Caldwell sounds like an amateur sociologist on his observation of the religion of his region. His ignorance is especially telling when he attempts to describe the life in the Black churches. He is obviously not a church historian. His critique on southern religion of his time is interesting but at times he beats the dead horse to the ground. He dwells to much on the excesses and doesn't see to much good. The most interesting character in this memoir is that of the author's father. Ira Caldwell,a presbyterian minister of a small sect of the denomination, is a man far ahead of his time. His social consciousness, intellectual acumen and liberal ideas were far out of step with the social and religious milieu of his time. How he survived in such an environment is an interesting story within itself. It is Caldwell's father who keeps you riveted in wanting to know more about his thoughts and ministry. Deep South is a good book to have in order to gain insight on Caldwell's thoughts about the church and religion. It is also a text which gives tribute to the work of Caldwell's father. For those wishing to gain some idea of southern religion during Caldwell's childhood, this is an ideal book.

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