There seems to be no end to our fascination with the Amish, a religious minority that has both placed itself outside the mainstream of American culture and flourished within it. Yet most people know very little about the nuanced relationship the Amish have with society or their own communities.
Drawing on more than twenty years of fieldwork and collaborative research, Steven M. Nolt's The Amish: A Concise Introduction is a compact but richly detailed portrait of Amish life. In fewer than 150 pages, readers will come away with a clear understanding of the complexities of these simple people. Writing in engaging and accessible language, Nolt explains how the Amish at once operate within modern America and stand very much apart from the world. Arguing that Amish life is shaped equally by internal and external social, political, and economic contexts, Nolt explores Amish identity as emerging from a complex cultural negotiation with modernity. He takes on much-hyped topics such as Rumspringa and reveals the distinctive Amish approach to technology. He also explains how Amish principles stand in contrast to contemporary American values, including rational efficiency, large-scale organization, and Western notions of individuality.
Authoritative, informative, and illustrated, this guide provides a vivid introduction to a way of life many find fascinating but few truly understand.
Steven M. Nolt is a professor of history and Senior Scholar at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College. He is the author of A History of the Amish and the coauthor of The Amish.
1. Meet the Amish2. Amish Roots3. Living the Old Order4. Community and Church5. Rumspringa6. Family and Schooling7. Work and Technology8. The Amish and Their Neighbors9. Amish Images in Modern AmericaAppendix AAppendix BNotesFor Further ReadingIndex