From the early narratives of such colonial writers as Jonathan Edwards to the more recent conversion experiences of Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson, America is rich in both conversions and autobiographies. This volume provides a sourcebook for the study of American religious conversion narratives. It includes entries providing biographical, bibliographic, and critical commentary on thirty significant writers of conversion narratives. The subjects include writers of early colonial America, such as Mary Rowlandson and John Woolman, nineteenth-century women writers, such as Carry Nation and Ann Eliza Young, and writers from the twentieth-century social gospel movement, such as John Cogley and Dorothy Day. Chapters on subjects such as Jim Bakker give insight into the rise of televangelism. Finally, chapters on such writers as Frederick Douglass, Eldridge Cleaver, and Piri Thomas cover the conversion experiences of those who lived outside mainstream American culture.
The chapters are arranged alphabetically. Each one is divided into sections providing a short biography, discussing the narrative, covering criticism of the narrative, and a bibliography. The work concludes with a bibliographic essay and a full subject index.