38 pages 1 hour read

Dennis Covington

Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1995

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Essay Topics


One might think that as a journalist, Dennis Covington would have chosen to remain a keen observer in this book. Why do you think he made the choice to write Salvation on Sand Mountain from a first person point of view, with his opinions and thoughts so directly enmeshed in the text? What does this decision do for the story, and how does it change the narrative? Are there any negative consequences?


Some of the elements in this book are truly stranger than fiction, but Covington has kept everything true to his eyewitness accounts. What do you think drew Covington to this choice? Do you think his story is relatable? Is it believable?


Covington casts a wide net of characters and settings in this text, relying on the snake-handling church as connective tissue. Is it important to keep track of them all individually, or are there more important elements that demand one’s focus? If so, what are they? How, if at all, do they interact with the wider community?