Growing Up in God’s Country

David McKain

An unflinching look back on boyhood


“The autobiography of a mid-twentieth-century Tom Sawyer. . . . It is a book of tremendous power and superb accomplishment.”
Los Angeles Times

“A quintessentially American story, in particular as it reminds us from what unlikely and even oppressive beginnings productive American lives so often have emerged; one cannot read it without admiring McKain. . . . He has written an honorable, and honest, book.”
Washington Post

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In this soul-piercing memoir, David McKain penetrates the secret world of a poor boy coming of age on his own in "God's Country," a small oil-drilling town in the Allegheny Mountains during the 1940s and 1950s. His devoutly religious parents, overwhelmed by their own struggles, relinquished their son's upbringing to the town and the wooded slopes that encircled it. Cutting school, straying from Boy Scouts, dropping out of church choir, McKain maneuvered away from control and into the joys and trials of adolescent discovery. Spellbound is an unforgettable story of a family enmeshed in tenderness and poverty, faith and affliction.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction

Page count: 272 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $26.95

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David McKain is a poet and professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut. His books of poems include In Touch, The Common Life, and Spirit Bodies. He is the editor of The Whole Earth: Essays in Appreciation, Anger, and Hope and Christianity: Some Non-Christian Appraisals.