"The puzzle's of Amish life are many. Telephones, taboo in homes, stand at the end of farm lanes. Powerful tractors, used at Amish barns, rarely venture into fields. Forbidden to own or operate motor vehicles, the Amish freely hire cars and vans for transportation. The unique blend of old and new in Amish life baffles us. these perplexing puzzles, however, are quite reasonable when pieced together in the context of Amish history." - from the Introduction to the Puzzles of Amish Life.
Revised edition! People's Place Book #10. A sociologist provides a way to understand the Amish people's intentional way of living in a world far different from their own. Fun to read. How do the Amish thrive in the midst of modern life? Why do the Amish separate themselves from the modern world? Why do a religious people spurn religious symbols and church buildings? Why is humility a cherished value? Why do a gentle people shun disobedient members? How do the Amish regulate social change? Why is ownership of cars objectionable, but not their use? Why are some modes of transportation acceptable and other forbidden? Why are tractors permitted around barns but not in fields? Why are horses used to pull modern farm machinery? Why are telephones banned from Amish homes? Why are some forms of electricity acceptable while others are rejected? How is modern machinery operated without electricity? Why are some occupations acceptable and others taboo? Why do the Amish use the services of professionals -- lawyers, doctors, and dentists -- but oppose higher education? Why do Amish youth rebel in their teenage years? Are the Amish freeloading on American life? Are the Amish behind or ahead of the modern world?
Donald B. Kraybill directs the Young Center for the Study of Anabaptist and Pietist Groups at Elizabthtown (PA) College where he is also Professor of Sociology. He is the author of The Riddle of Amish Culture, and the editor of The Amish and the State both published by Johns Hopkins University Press. He has also co-authored The Amish Struggle with Modernity published by the University Press of New England.
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