Through the writings of Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, and Robert Stone, Sorrow's Rigging reflects on the American scene from the outbreak of the Vietnam War in 1965 to the uncertain future. In an innovative new reading, Gary Adelman presents these three authors as "Catholic cowboys", renegades, and above all furious parodists of Americana and its larger-than-life mythology, dreams, innocence, and power. Adelman explores the common inheritance of these American lapsed Catholics, born between the two World Wars, who found their voices on the eve of the Vietnam conflict. Their worlds are permeated by spirituality, rage, despair, and self-hatred. He shows how McCarthy creates macabre pageants of hope throttled, while in the Dantesque world of DeLillo's novels, psychopathic characters turn on themselves in an effort to overcome fear of the past. In Stone's work, the characters' rage is turned inward as a form of self-punishment for being a holdout against God. Sorrow's Rigging is a study of panic at the death of hope expressed in novels born of the terrors writers cannot escape, yet in the very act of writing they redeem the world through art.