The book is told as six stories in the life of its protagonist, Nels Sorenson, a Baptist kid from a blue-collar family. The social and historical events that occurred to a whole generation are dramatized in the personal and affective perception of Nels Sorenson and his family.
Looking for God in the Forest is a book about the nature of God. It is a book about the nature of violence. It is about the blending of the two in a boy's growing awareness of the Cold War and its interpretation through the apocalyptic preaching of the American Evangelical Movement and the Book of Revelation, as Armageddon.
Nels Sorenson's adolescent crisis is the Cuban Missile Crisis. His resolution comes about through the Kennedy assassination.