Citation and acknowledgement
Ellen Eslinger (1999). Citizens of Zion: The Social Origins of Camp Meeting Revivalism. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1999. ISBN 978-1-57233-033-7
Eslinger received assistance from the DePaul University, where she works as a Historian. The content of the book was from her doctoral dissertation that she wrote while in the university. From the analysis of the sources that are quoted, with a sampling of 30 pages, from page 100-130, she uses approximately 60% of secondary sources, mainly from articles as well as published books from notable authors, where she challenges previous theories with her well perceived argument
The main subject of chapter 1 deals with the years of resettlement in Kentucky. This part looks into the history of the resettlement patterns in Kentucky. The author writes about the economic development of the area. A specific piece of evidence the author uses is the prevalent wealth that existed in the area prior to the camp meetings.
The main subject of the second part which is made up of 6 chapters out of the 9 chapter, looks into the Kentucky life. The author argues from a variety of angles, from an economic perspective, organization of society, local politics-inside and out of the church. A specific piece of evidence the author uses is Kentucky family structure that makes part of the society, as well as the prevailing local politics in the area that influenced development.
The main subject of chapter 8 of the book is ‘spiritual awakening’. Ellen presents her critique of the frontier movements, as well as the influence on the camp meeting in Kentucky. A specific piece of evidence the author uses is the politics in the camp meetings as well as the movements in Kentucky at the onset of the camp meetings
The main subject of chapter 9 is ‘The social significance of Camp Meeting Revivalism’, deals with revivalism and its interpretation from the Communitas idea, cited by Victor Turner. She argues that the frontier culture was illustrated in the form of the camp meetings that took place in Kentucky. A specific piece of evidence the author uses is the culture shock and changes that characterized the region.
Eslinger uses both primary and secondary sources exhaustively in order to illustrate her case and strengthen her argument. The final argument in chapter 9 is subtle and not as radical as one expected, judging from her indication of radicalization from frontier culture that she promised earlier on the book.