The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Book Reviews

perament and aesthetics, education and, one suspects, social class. But
she does a superb job of pointing out those things that Amarillo's con-
servative Christians have in common, and it is through those shared be-
liefs that they have come to feel "at home with the bomb in Amarillo,
Texas."
Above all else, there is the belief in the absolute inerrancy of the
Scriptures. Although sometimes apparently held in desperation, the
conviction that the Bible is transparent to the mind of God is the firm
foundation of the embattled fundamentalism Mojtabai analyzes. From
the infallible Bible the Amarillo conservatives derive a creed that will
appear quite foreign to most readers, Christian or not. They are, for
the most part, "dispensationalists"; that is, they believe that God has
interacted with humanity in different ways at different periods, or
"dispensations," in the past. Those interactions, dispensationalists be-
lieve, have all ended tragically because of man's proclivity to sin. And
then there are the beliefs concerning the end of time, especially the
"Tribulation," a holocaust from which true believers will be saved by
the "rapture," the glorious gathering of the faithful to God before the
evil time. In those beliefs lies the key to the paradox that is at the base
of Mojtabai's analysis. On the one hand, her fundamentalists are pro-
foundly pessimistic. Indeed, they have given up on Christianity, which
clearly-at least in the first Advent-has been a failure. Nothing can be
done, they believe, to halt the ineluctable working out of God's will on
earth. They can, therefore, view with equanimity the assembly of nu-
clear warheads in their backyards. Indeed, they see that process as
fulfilling Petrine predictions of fire raining from heaven and of all
creation being vaporized by a "fervent heat" (2 Peter 3: 10o).
There is nothing quite comparable to Mojtabai's study among other
work on contemporary American religion. It is impressionistic in posi-
tive and important ways. And it makes accessible the beliefs of a signifi-
cant religious minority without being simplistic or condescending. As a
serious study of fundamentalism in the contemporary Southwest, it is
both timely and provocative. And it is most welcome.
University of Texas at Austin HOWARD MILLER
Rebellion and Realignment: Arkansas's Road to Secession. By James M.
Woods. (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1987. Pp. 227.
Acknowledgments, introduction, appendix, tables, maps, notes,
bibliography, index. $18.)
According to James M. Woods, in 1850 Arkansas was a frontier state
struggling to overcome a stagnant economy and the domination of the

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed August 21, 2014.