April 2009 Issue
Curl Up With a Few Good Books
Understanding the Amish, Step One
For guidance, we consulted Paul Miller, who oversees a large, non-academic collection of books by Amish and Mennonite authors, at the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Holmes County.
For starters, Miller suggests these two short (under 50 pages) but thorough treatments: The Amish: Why They Enchant Us
, by Donald Kraybill, and Amish Life
, by John Hostetler. Both writers, who also taught at universities, have studied and written extensively about the Anabaptist sects: Amish, Brethren, Hutterites and Mennonites.
Miller also suggests a recent book — Forgiveness: A Legacy of the West Nickel Mines Amish School
, by John L. Ruth — that attempts to explain the theological basis for the Amish community’s radical acts of forgiveness in the aftermath of the 2006 killings at the one-room schoolhouse.
For the beauty of the writing, Miller suggests anything by David Kline, the Holmes County Old-Order bishop who’s also a farmer, poet and naturalist, and, as Miller puts it — “the Amish [Henry] David Thoreau.”For a catalog of books and videos, contact the center at www.behalt.com
or call 330/893-3192.