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Book Reviews

Sean Ferrier-Watson, of Collin College, is Book Review Editor of JASAT. Address questions about reviews and send books for review to

Professor Sean Ferrier-Watson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Master of Arts in English from the University of North Texas. His Ph.D. in English was completed at Texas A&M University-Commerce in Dec. of 2013. He has also published scholarly articles in The Journal of Children’s Literature Studies and Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas, and he is currently completing a book to be published by McFarland.

If you are a member of ASAT and would like to have JASAT review a book you published within the past year, please request that your publisher send a copy of the book to the book review editor at the address above.

To inquire about publishing a book review in JASAT, please email the book review editor at You will be notified about any available books for review or any interest in publishing a review of a book of your choice. Review copies of books to be reviewed in JASAT can only be arranged through the book review editor and from university presses. All other books for review must be acquired by the potential reviewer.

All book reviewers published in JASAT must be members of the American Studies Association of Texas (go here for membership info).

General guidelines

Length:  Approximately 350 words.
Due date: April 1
st - Early submissions appreciated!
Format:  Electronic, either as an attachment or pasted into the body of an email is preferred; send it to the book review editor at If you must send it in hardcopy, please mail it to the book review editor at the address above.

1. Format for bibliographic heading:

DeKoven, Marianne. Utopia Limited: The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern. Durham: Duke UP, 2004. 363 pages. $23.95 paper. ISBN 9-8233-3269-8.

2. Please keep to the word limit or expect revision to your review.

3. Complete the review by the assigned deadline.

4. Include a brief summary of the scope, purpose, and content of the book. Also include an evaluation of the author's success in achieving the purpose, his/her use of available resources, and the organization and presentation of the material. Use inclusive language. Reviews should generally be one part introduction to the book, the author, the topic, and the method; one part analysis and evaluation; and one part discussion of the book's contribution to American Studies See the example, below.

5. Evaluation may, of course, be favorable or unfavorable; but the review should in all cases avoid personalities and should express criticism with civility.

6. Please stick to discussion of the book and avoid irrelevant digressions.

7. Don't list typographical or other minor errors unless they significantly impair the value of the book.

8. Include page numbers in parentheses for quotations, formatted like this: (p. 232).

9. At the end of the review, type your name flush left in all caps. Directly beneath your name, type your institutional affiliation flush left. (If you have no institutional affiliation, type "Independent scholar" and location.)


O’Gorman, Farrell. Peculiar Crossroads: Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and Catholic Vision in Postwar Southern Fiction. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2004. 259 pages. $22.95 paper. ISBN 978-0-8071-3355-4.


Farrell O’Gorman’s biographical, philosophical, aesthetic study links Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy, who (with Eudora Welty) constitute the foremost Southern writers of the second half of the twentieth century. The only other book-length study to date devoted to the Catholic writers of the South has been Robert Brinkmeyer’s Three Catholic Writers of the Modern South, which deals with Tate, Gordon, and Percy, but not O’Connor.  

Throughout the study O’Gorman relates the two writers because of their Catholicism, but he also details similarities in their life stories, especially their illnesses and the loss of their fathers. He discusses the guidance and encouragement they received from Allen Tate and Caroline Gordon and their mutual grounding in the classic Catholic writers such as St. Thomas Aquinas, adding that they were even more influenced by twentieth-century Catholic philosophers Jacques Maritain and Romano Guardini. O’Gorman finds commonalities that shape the fiction of both, a concern for the here and now, not the glory of the past, and an insistence on the concrete rather than the abstract. He sees the two writers as focusing on revelation rather than memory as they “balanced a committed and sincere religious faith with authentic and powerful writing about their native region,” noting that “the radical religiosity of O’Connor and Percy’s vision is precisely what has made them so valuable to the South as original fiction writers and social critics” (p. 5). He finds in both existentialism, realism, satire, and post-modernism as they reject narcissistic individual sensibility and intellectual self-sufficiency while confronting alienation in the consumer-oriented, crumbling modern world and looking forward with hope for renewal to come out of the ruins.

The scholarship is thorough, the breadth of the last chapter in its survey of contemporary novelists—among them Cormac McCarthy, James Lee Burke, Lee Smith, Annie Dillard, Doris Betts, Alice Walker, Mary Lee Settle, Randall Kenan, Josephine Humphreys, Padgett Powell, and Bobbie Ann Mason—influenced by O’Connor and Percy impressive, and the prose lucid and precise. This excellent study should be read by anyone serious about O’Connor and Percy.



University of Texas at Brownsville