" Award-winning journalist Patsy Sims journeyed through the back roads of the South, along the sawdust trail, to take part in the lives of seven American revivalists, their families, crew members, and followers. She attended services conducted by Pentecostal evangelists, with audiences ranging from almost fifty to five thousand. Before, after, and in between she conducted hundred of interviews. What she discovered is a fascinating world dominated by colorful, compelling, unorthodox men who sprang out of a tradition that dates back almost two hundred years. With descriptive, evocative prose, Sims allows readers to vicariously experience old-time religion: a revivalist attempting to raise his son from the dead, a week with an east Tennessee congregation of snakehandlers, the opening-night jitters of a beginning evangelist, and the loneliness of the road for the veterans. Sims's rendering of what goes on in the tents and tabernacles of America allows the people and events to speak for themselves.
"A journalistic essay sprinkled with extensive interviews, the book succeeds in grabbing and holding our attention." -- Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture
"An excellent treatment of an overlooked topic." -- Booklist
"Reminds us anew of the importance of hands-on, door-to-door (or, here, tent-to-tent) interviewing, first-person, participant-observer research." -- H-Net Reviews
"A brilliant anatomy of the folk religion practiced by practiced by 'inspired' but untrained clergy and their followers looking for -- and expecting -- signs and miracles." -- Journal of American Studies Association of Texas
"Sims here gives an outsider's unbiased look at Southern Pentecostal revivalism. This volume contains multiple interviews with evangelists, worshippers, and workers, but what LJ's reviewer liked best is Sim's feel for the spirit of this type of religion." -- Library Journal
"Fair-minded, perceptive, deftly written." -- Los Angeles Times
"Written without condescension or sensationalism. Sims has ventured out into the geographical margins and into the institutional gaps, and she has taken us with her." -- New York Times Book Review