Monday, January 10, 2011

What is Darren Dochuk reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Darren Dochuk, author of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism.

His entry begins:
I always look forward to Christmas break because it allows me to cut loose from the “publish-or-perish” pressures of academia and indulge in some book reading for pleasure. Granted, the pleasure is never guilt-free; there always seems to be another article or tome to read in preparation for next semester’s work. This year, however, I’ve been able to minimize the guilt by reading two books that touch on my scholarly interests at the same time they tell riveting tales. Both are highly acclaimed and likely familiar to HEPPAS readers, but they have provided me with hours of fresh insight and enjoyment. My pairing of the two was unplanned yet auspicious: while one book features a man obsessed with discovery in South America’s densest jungle, the other profiles a man set on subduing this tangled terrain; while the first takes the reader from the Victorian era to the 1920s, the other moves from the 1920s to World War II. Together they open up the fascinating world of Amazonia, where, in the early twentieth century, so many interlopers saw their lofty dreams collide with nature in violent and tragic fashion.

I picked up David Grann’s The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon first and immediately found myself immersed in...[read on]
Among the early praise for From Bible Belt to Sunbelt:
"A lucid history of how California, land of fruits and nuts and be-here-nowness, became a bastion of fundamentalist reaction....Well-written and -documented, a supremely helpful guide in sorting out how we arrived at that odd state of affairs."

"[M]eticulously researched, persuasively argued, and written with style and conviction, asserting that religion must be integrated into, not cordoned off from, postwar political culture. Tracing the religious, cultural, and political experiences of Southern white migrants who were drawn to Southern California by wartime opportunities and then stayed to influence the local (and eventually national) political and cultural landscape, Dochuk offers a rich and multi-dimensional perspective on the origins of one of the most far-ranging developments of the second half of the twentieth century: the rise of the New Right and modern conservatism."
--from the judges citation awarding the Allan Nevins Prize to From Bible Belt to Sunbelt
Darren Dochuk is a professor at Purdue University and a former Fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University.

Preview From Bible Belt to Sunbelt, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

The Page 99 Test: From Bible Belt to Sunbelt.

Writers Read: Darren Dochuk.

--Marshal Zeringue