A big honest novel that runs on mountain time, but has a sense of the cycle of life as well. Doug Emerson is the son of a fundamentalist preacher in the hills of east Tennessee, an anguished, angry man of God who married a childwife to beget him a son for the ministry. Doug's mother was pure mountain stock, and if his father saw a vengeful lord, she believed in heaven ""the way she believed beans tasted better if she put a piece of salt pork in the pot."" Doug emerges from a harsh childhood to go to the Bible college of Denniston, where he finds Joan, a town girl with gumption who loves him enough to go back into the mountains where he means to teach. His success is a student Alger, whom he gets to M.I.T., his failure the loss of the school because he will not compromise himself on his feeling over Scripture. Then come the T.V.A. years, the birth and loss of his only son at ten, going back to Denniston and finding the new young Christians have routed him, the end of the dream and uncertainty in what he was so sure of--the building of the New Jerusalem on earth. Ultimately he gains a deeper perspective and conviction... An unsentimental paean to mountain boomers, a questioning of ""progress""--does life move ahead or Just on? Do things get better or Just different? Uncle Rafe, who was buried with his ancient gun, Danl's Widder, and new Florsheim shoes, might say, ""Hit's a fair piece of readin.