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The Amish


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This companion book to the American Experience documentary on PBS takes an in-depth look into Amish life in America.

Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsPart I1. Who Are the Amish?2. European Origins3. The Story in AmericaPart II4. Religious Roots5. Sacred Rituals6. The Amish Way7. Symbols and IdentityPart III8. Diverse Affiliations9. Population Patterns10. Community Organization11. Gender and Family12. From Rumspringa to Marriage13. Social Ties and Community Rhythms14. EducationPart IV15. Agriculture16. Business17. Technology18. Health and Healing19. Government and Civic Relations20. The Amish in Print21. Tourism and MediaPart V22. Pursuits of HappinessAppendix AAppendix BNotesBibliographyIndex

About the Author

Donald B. Kraybill is a Distinguished College Professor and senior fellow emeritus at Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. Karen M. Johnson-Weiner is a Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of anthropology at SUNY Potsdam. Steven M. Nolt is a professor of history and Anabaptist studies and a senior scholar at Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.


The authors successfully address the seeming exoticism of the Amish without sensationalism... Particular attention is paid to debunking myths surrounding the teenage rite of Rumspringa, a time of contemplation before full commitment to the church through baptism. The scholarship is enlivened with quotes and personal anecdotes, and the final section on the future of the Amish raises fascinating questions, even for casual readers. * Publishers Weekly *
Kraybill, Johnson-Weiner and Nolt have provided masterful research that enlightens the reader about this misunderstood religion and culture... The Amish is a must-read for anyone willing to look beyond the horse and buggy image and gain eye-opening knowledge of people keeping a wary eye on the modern world while holding fast to their past beliefs and traditions. * Foreword Reviews *
In sum, Kraybill, Johnson-Weiner and Nolt have offered us a highly readable and thoroughly engaging lens into the Amish, and in doing so offer readers an opportunity to reflect on themselves in this book. * *
Given its wide scope and up-to-date information there really isn't a book like this on the Amish today. I would place it among a handful of Amish must-reads. * Amish America *
This is a great read for audiences from high school to professionals... highly recommended. * Choice *
The book's thoroughness is praiseworthy, along with its unbiased approach. It doesn't overpraise the Amish, nor does it criticize their ways. If you're wondering how traditional societies cope with the modern era, this book is perfect. * Olive Branch United *
An essential work on the Amish for both those who begin with little knowledge and those who would like to update their understanding of this unique plain Christian community. * Annals of Iowa *
Written by the foremost contemporary authority on the Amish along with experts on linguistics and Amish history, this impressive, illustrated volume positions itself as the best and most comprehensive book on the Amish in the twenty-first century. Based on twenty-five years of sociological and demographics research, face-to-face interviews and in-person observation, the twenty-two chapters cover every aspect of Amish life... The Amish is invaluable for the reader seeking a first, serious encounter with the subject, but readers with some prior knowledge of the Amish will benefit greatly from its comprehensive, national scope. For libraries with limited space, this is the one book on the Amish to own. * Nova Religio *
Ten years in the making, The Amish is one of a kind... The book draws on a combined seventy-five years of observation and analysis of Amish life by three of the most insightful scholars in the field of Amish studies... It does an exceptional job of conveying the cultural logic behind Amish practices... The book is a major contribution to understanding and theorizing Amish difference amid unity in the twenty-first century... The Amish is beautifully written and the consistency of voice is remarkable... This is interdisciplinary work at its best. * Mennonite Quarterly Review *
A valuable, detailed and large (520 pp.) introduction to the Amish... The book, wisely documented with photographs (to be more appreciated, because of Amish shunning them), is a very precious documentation of Amish life and religious culture in present America-and therefore not only our best choice of 2014, but a bibliographic milestone not to be missed. * Polifemo *
A sophisticated yet accessible picture of the many forms of contemporary Amish life, a picture that includes both the attractions of deeply rooted community relationships and the troubling shadows cast in a closely-knit patriarchal tribe, such as poorly addressed sexual abuse and a sometimes-dysfunctional youth culture. The nuance, accuracy, thoroughness, and respect attending this beautifully presented work of collaborative scholarship ensure that The Amish will define the field of Amish studies for some time to come. * Journal of Mennonite Studies *

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