Saturday, 24 February 2018

Thank you for good comments about the Amish man and me in the Bank

I am grateful for your nice comments about my conversation with an Amish man in our Bank.

The Amish, being industrious people, first came to Sarasota to grow celery in the winter months when crop farming in more northern climes was impossible.

There is now a super wild life preserve in the area where they grew their celery.

It is called "Celery Fields" in honour of the Amish.

It's a great places for "birders", 'specially at day break and at twilight.


But who are the Amish?  What is their history? Why did some of them come to north American shores?   How do they prosper in 21st Century Canada and the U.S.A?

To move us from touristic and sentimental views of the Amish (horse and buggy in Pennsylvania, tricycles in Sarasota etc) I recommended this book: 

It is a dispassionate, concise, and scholarly introduction to the Amish (and it is very readable).

Published by the Johns Hopkins University  Press  (2016) it can be purchased from them, or from Google Books, or on Kindle.


Here is the superb "blurb" from JHUP.

The Amish
A Concise Introduction


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.

Buy it if you have any interest in the American citizens 

who happen to be Amish.

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