Over the past century, Branson, Missouri, has attracted tens of millions of tourists. Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, it offers a rare and refreshing combination of natural beauty and family-friendly recreation - from scenic lakes and rolling hills to theme parks and variety shows. It has boasted of big name celebrities, like Wayne Newton, Andy Williams, and Petula Clark, as well as family entertainers like Mickey Gilley, the Shanghai Magic Troupe, Jim Stafford, and Yakov Smirnoff. But there is more to Branson's fame than just recreation. As Aaron K. Ketchell discovers, a popular variant of Christianity underscores all Branson's tourist attractions and fortifies every consumer success. In this lively and engaging study, Ketchell explores Branson's unique blend of religion and recreation. He explains how the city became a mecca of conservative Christianity - a place for a "spiritual vacation" - and how, through conscious effort, its residents and businesses continuously reinforce its inextricable connection with the divine.
Ketchell combines the study of lived religion, popular culture, evangelicalism, and contemporary American history to present an accurate and honest account of a distinctly American phenomenon.
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Number of pages: 344
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 29 mm
"Fascinating. There is no work that approaches the remarkable history of Branson in such complex fashion. Ketchell weaves together engaging analysis of The Shepherd of the Hills, the music business, and hillbilly lore and culture with interpretation of built environment and observations on the national mood. Holy Hills is rich with insights into the world of 'family-values,' Christians in America, and the commercial aspects of American Protestantism, regional distinctiveness, and the trajectories of literary influence." - John Corrigan, Florida State University"