Drawing upon the religious writings of southern evangelicals, John Boles asserts that the extraordinary crowds and miraculous transformations that distinguished the South's First Great Awakening were not simply instances of emotional excess but the expression of widespread and complex attitudes toward God. Converted southerners were starkly individualistic, interested more in gaining personal salvation in a hopelessly evil world than in improving society. As Boles shows in this landmark study, the effect of the Revival was to throw over the region a conservative cast that remains dominant in contemporary southern thought and life.
"This study of the Great Revival is based on meticulous and critical research. Boles seeks to understand the theology of the preachers, their methods of arousing an audience to emotional frenzy, and the effets of the revival on the Southern mind." -- Clement Eaton, American Historical Review
"An excellent survey of religion and its significance in the first eighty-five years of Kentucky's history." -- Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"The heart of the book consists of ten beautifully written chapters on each phase and aspect of revivalism from theology and worship to denominational relations, hymnology, and political and economic thought." -- Robert M. Calhoun, West Virginia History
"This book deserves attention for both its substance and its methodology." -- Samuel S. Hill, Jr.
"Shows in the landmark study that the effect of the Revival has persisted in the religious individualism of contemporary conservative religious approaches to salvation." -- Worldtrade.com