David Mosse begins his book The Saint in the Banyan Tree: Christianity and Caste Society in India (UC Press, 2012) with the story of a miracle-working tree in the rural village of Alapuram (a pseudonym) in Tamil Nadu, southern India. As long ago as the late 1600s, the story goes, four brothers brought a tree cutting to the village from a coastal shrine. It was a banyan tree: the tree known for its complex, tangled growth and roots-turned-branches. In the tree was St James (Santiyakappar). The brothers' descendants are said to have settled in the village and become the subordinated Pallar caste -- among the so-called "untouchables." Already in the 1730s, Jesuit missionaries in the area wrote home about the crowds of people that traveled to the tree shrine to ask the saint for favors and to fulfill vows. Some centuries later, in the 1980s, David Mosse first visited the village to conduct anthropological fieldwork, and observed how people from different castes in the village participated in what had become the elaborate, Catholic Santiyakappar festival. And that is how the story of The Saint in the Banyan Tree begins. Then it grows into a complex, rich story about a village and about India, about a saint and about Christianity, about dalits ("untouchables") and caste society, about Jesuit letters and history, fieldwork bike trips and anthropology.