The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World

Donald B. Kraybill, Author, Steven M. Nolt, Author, David L. Weaver-Zercher, Author
Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, and David L. Weaver-Zercher, Jossey-Bass, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-470-52069-7
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Kraybill, Nolt, and Weaver-Zercher (Amish Grace) team up once more to offer insight into the often misunderstood world of the Amish. Refreshingly, this study makes a point of focusing on the spiritual and theological aspects of their world rather than simply cataloguing the outward cultural characteristics. Horse-drawn transportation and simple clothing do make their appearances, but they are revealed to be simply incidental to a deeply felt faith rather than something to gawk at. Focusing on a triumvirate of religious beliefs, practices, and affections, the authors weave the spirituality of the Amish through the everyday fibers of existence. Chapters are organized by broad themes including "nature," "sorrow," and "family," then further subdivided into short vignettes featuring a particular practice or belief. The final chapter contains the broadest appeal. It includes a candid appraisal of the costs of living the Amish way, but, more importantly, also suggests how American culture could greatly benefit from the patient faith of this proudly "peculiar" people. All together, the book reads quickly and provides a fine and appropriately simple introduction to the Amish faith. (Oct.)
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