Amish Roots: A Treasury of History, Wisdom, and Lore

John A. Hostetler, Editor Johns Hopkins University Press $47 (360p) ISBN 978-0-8018-3769-2
Though the Amish traditionally shun higher education and seldom write about themselves, they speak with an engaging frankness in this rare and welcome anthology of testimonials. Hostetler ( Amish Society ), a sociologist raised in the Amish faith, compiles writing by and about the Amish from journals and letters, family and farm records, newspaper stories, poems, songs and stories. Ranging from the observations of the first Anabaptist immigrants in the 1700s to the present, the over 150 entries--commenting on church, family life, work, school and the rich Amish agricultural heritage--form a remarkably complete portrait of a complex and often misunderstood society. And while the collection includes historical essays and analysis by non-Amish (Archibald MacLeish, Wendell Berry, Lord Snowdon), the most revealing writing comes from the Amish themselves. Hostetler's skillful selection of pieces reveals, like a patchwork quilt, a stunning whole. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-0-8018-4402-7
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