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The Amish

Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt

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Companion to the acclaimed PBS American Experience documentary.

Winner of the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of the Choice ACRL

The Amish have always struggled with the modern world. Known for their simple clothing, plain lifestyle, and horse-and-buggy mode of transportation, Amish communities continually face outside pressures to modify their cultural patterns, social organization, and religious world view. An intimate portrait of Amish life, The Amish explores not only the emerging diversity and evolving identities within this distinctive American ethnic community, but also its…

Companion to the acclaimed PBS American Experience documentary.

Winner of the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of the Choice ACRL

The Amish have always struggled with the modern world. Known for their simple clothing, plain lifestyle, and horse-and-buggy mode of transportation, Amish communities continually face outside pressures to modify their cultural patterns, social organization, and religious world view. An intimate portrait of Amish life, The Amish explores not only the emerging diversity and evolving identities within this distinctive American ethnic community, but also its transformation and geographic expansion.

Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt spent twenty-five years researching Amish history, religion, and culture. Drawing on archival material, direct observations, and oral history, the authors provide an authoritative and sensitive understanding of Amish society.

Amish people do not evangelize, yet their numbers in North America have grown from a small community of some 6,000 people in the early 1900s to a thriving population of more than 320,000 today. The largest populations are found in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, with additional communities in twenty-eight other states and three Canadian provinces.

The authors argue that the intensely private and insular Amish have devised creative ways to negotiate with modernity that have enabled them to thrive in America. The transformation of the Amish in the American imagination from "backward bumpkins" to media icons poses provocative questions. What does the Amish story reveal about the American character, popular culture, and mainstream values? Richly illustrated, The Amish is the definitive portrayal of the Amish in America in the twenty-first century.

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The Amish

Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt

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Reviews

Reviews

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.

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.

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.

This is a great read for audiences from high school to professionals... highly recommended.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
7
x
10
Pages
520
ISBN
9781421425665
Illustration Description
50 halftones, 18 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Part I
1. Who Are the Amish?
2. European Origins
3. The Story in America
Part II
4. Religious Roots
5. Sacred Rituals
6. The Amish Way
7. Symbols and Identity
Part III
8. Diverse

Preface
Acknowledgments
Part I
1. Who Are the Amish?
2. European Origins
3. The Story in America
Part II
4. Religious Roots
5. Sacred Rituals
6. The Amish Way
7. Symbols and Identity
Part III
8. Diverse Affiliations
9. Population Patterns
10. Community Organization
11. Gender and Family
12. From Rumspringa to Marriage
13. Social Ties and Community Rhythms
14. Education
Part IV
15. Agriculture
16. Business
17. Technology
18. Health and Healing
19. Government and Civic Relations
20. The Amish in Print
21. Tourism and Media
Part V
22. Pursuits of Happiness
Appendix A
Appendix B
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bios
Donald B. Kraybill
Featured Contributor

Donald B. Kraybill

Donald B. Kraybill is a Distinguished College Professor and senior fellow emeritus at Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.
Featured Contributor

Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, Ph.D.

Karen M. Johnson-Weiner is an associate professor of linguistic anthropology and the chair of the Department of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Potsdam.
Featured Contributor

Steven M. Nolt

Steven M. Nolt is a professor of history and Anabaptist studies at Elizabethtown College and director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.