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The Riddle of Amish Culture

Paperback
, 424 pages

61 halftones, 13 line drawings

ISBN:
9780801867729
September 2001
$23.95

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The Riddle of Amish Culture
revised edition

Exclusive Study Guide

Since its publication in 1989, The Riddle of Amish Culture has become recognized as a classic work on one of America's most distinctive religious communities. But many changes have occurred within Amish society over the past decade, from westward migrations and a greater familiarity with technology to the dramatic shift away from farming into small business which is transforming Amish culture. For this revised edition, Donald B. Kraybill has taken these recent changes into account, incorporating new demographic research and new interviews he has conducted among the Amish. In addition, he includes a new chapter describing Amish recreation and social gatherings, and he applies the concept of "social capital" to his sensitive and penetrating interpretation of how the Amish have preserved their social networks and the solidarity of their community.

Donald B. Kraybill is Distinguished College Professor and Senior Fellow in the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania. Widely recognized for his work on Anabaptist groups, he has authored and edited many books, including The Riddle of Amish Culture and The Amish and the State, both available from Johns Hopkins.

"This book is a perfect tool for introducing undergraduates to sociological analysis. Kraybill skillfully depicts an intriguing world that promotes collectivism against the dominant individualism. We come to understand how Amish life makes sense to those who adhere to it."

"Beyond the tour buses and stereotypes lies the complex reality of Amish life. In this welcome update of a classic study, Donald B. Kraybill explores with deep insight and solid research the fascinating ways this fast-growing traditional community negotiates its evolving relationship with a modern world of business, tourism, shopping malls, and roller blades. No dry academic book, this beautifully written work exudes the juices of lived experience and conveys its author's profound respect for, and understanding of, Amish life."

"Carefully crafted, richly nuanced and accessible to both the informed reader and the novice, Donald Kraybill has once again produced a remarkably clear and meticulous study of one of North America's most intriguing religious minorities. The Riddle of Amish Culture opens a window into the complex reality of Amish society that crisscrosses the postmodern, modern, and traditional worlds."

"Donald Kraybill has written a brilliant exposition of Amish life. A sociological tour de force and must-read for those who wish to understand Amish culture."

"I cannot think of a better way to introduce students to the richness of Amish life. The Riddle of Amish Culture takes the reader into the intricacies of Amish life and culture. Kraybill frames his rich narrative description with sophisticated analysis. While thoroughly accessible, Kraybill's book never insults the reader's intelligence. His treatment of Amish life resists stereotypes. In fact, he routinely explodes them."

" The Riddle of Amish Culture is essential reading for anyone who wants to unlock the 'mystery' of a fascinating people whose simple, community oriented ways have much to teach us. Professor Kraybill's extremely informative book is a valuable resource, every semester in my classes for teachers."

"Kraybill moves seamlessly between the fascinating details of Amish life and the meaning of modernity, illuminating both as he informs and provokes in the best tradition of accessible scholarship. [His] masterful analysis of Amish life provides the perfect springboard for students to explore the meaning of modernity and to question the assumptions of their own culture."

"Kraybill's masterful analysis of Amish life provides the perfect springboard for students to explore the meaning of modernity and to question the assumptions of their own culture."

"Kraybill's study of the Lancaster Amish community is an excellent introduction to the Old Order world for both students and general readers. He enables us to see the Amish not as leftovers from the past, but as 21st century people whose confrontation with modernity is guided by the same devotion to religious principles that marked their ancestors as radicals. This book helps us solve the riddles of Old Order society."

"Students of human nature and those baffled by the seeming inconsistencies of Amish culture will find compelling explanation in Donald Kraybill's The Riddle of Amish Culture. In the new research on youth groups, Kraybill explains how a time of testing the limits and tasting the fruits of worldliness in adolescence has a 'redeeming function.'."

"The well documented book is an excellent field trip. It includes informative chapters, excellent notes, thorough bibliography all presented with clarity and correctness."

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