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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Key Figures

Dennis Covington

Dennis Covington is the narrator of Salvation on Sand Mountain, a work of non-fiction. Covington is the reader’s primary source of information within this text, and it is his first-person perspective from which the book is told. Covington is introduced as a journalist sent to cover the trial of the preacher Glenn Summerford, but he reveals in the prologue that he intends to write more widely about the Southern experience, hill people, snake handlers, and poor Southern whites. This book would not exist if Covington had not continued to participate in the convicted man’s religious community for the next several years.

Covington is a husband and the father to Laura and Ashley Covington. He grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, with thoughts of going to a theology seminar or studying to become a forest ranger, only considering a career in journalism after attending writing classes at the University of Iowa. After Covington and his second wife, Vicki, quit academia together and move from Ohio back to Birmingham, they lose a baby and turn to drinking.

Carl Porter

Carl Porter is a retired truck driver from Kingston, Georgia, who “look[s] more like a barber, or someone’s favorite uncle” (11) than a reverend.