Judgment and Grace in Dixie
Southern Faiths from Faulkner to Elvis

Charles Reagan Wilson
Photographs by Tom Rankin and Susan B. Lee
With a new preface

Religion, culture, and the modern South


"Wilson writes in a clear and entertaining style with insight and sympathy. He understands and explains the pervasive religious mindset of the South."
Library Journal

"A brilliant excavation of religious strains in the southern psyche."

"A fascinating examination of the South's pervasive evangelical Protestantism. Anyone interested in the modern South will enjoy this engaging, well-written book."
—John Shelton Reed, author of Southern Folk, Plain and Fancy: Native White Social Types

"Anyone who wants to know. more about contemporary southern religious and cultural life should start with this book. Wilson possesses an outstanding ability to look clearly at the transformations of the South and to interpret their meaning by focusing on popular events and icons."
—Edward L. Queen II, Christian Century

"Eclectic and suggestive . . . A book that intersects provocatively with the work of scholars such as Colleen McDannell, Ted Ownby, and Lawrence Levine on material culture, religion, and consumerism."
Church History

"Wilson is an inspired eclectic and a strategic reader in scholarship produced in disciplines other than history. . . . This collection entertains!"
Southern Quarterly

"Highly readable and often thought-provoking, these essays make a notable contribution to our understanding of religion's influence in the South."
Atlanta History

"For those who try to understand the matter of religion in the South, the topic is a bewildering one. . . . With a prose style that is clear and supple and an intelligence that is probing and authoritative, Charles Reagan Wilson demystifies the subject and carries us into the very heart of the dilemma."
South Atlantic Review

“For an understatedly elegant synopsis of the meaning of southern religious history, readers will be grateful for Judgment and Grace in Dixie.”
Religious Studies Review

“A fine book . . . The essays are brief but well-written summaries of powerful cultural issues often mentioned but seldom explored in larger works.”
Journal of Appalachian Studies

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Religion has permeated nearly every aspect of modern southern culture, with results that range from portraits of Jesus on black velvet to the soul-stirring orations of Martin Luther King Jr. In Judgment and Grace in Dixie, Charles Reagan Wilson makes a lively appraisal of religion's influence on such expressions of regional life as literature, music, and folk art, as well as on such public spectacles as football games and beauty pageants.

Wilson's focus is on popular religion--evangelical Protestantism as embraced at the grassroots level, where distinctions between the sacred and secular are blurred and belief in the supernatural remains strong. As he traces the development and meaning of popular religion and pop culture, Wilson ranges widely across a spiritual landscape rich in iconic accumulations of people, places, events, and artifacts--church fans and Elvis Presley memorabilia, the painting of Howard Finster and the songs of Hank Williams, the Scopes trial and the death of Bear Bryant.

Page count: 234 pp.
Trim size: 6.125 x 9.25


List price: $26.95

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Charles Reagan Wilson is Kelly Gene Cook, Sr., Chair in History and Professor of Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of Judgment and Grace in Dixie: Southern Faiths from Faulkner to Elvis, Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865–1920, (both Georgia) and general editor of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.