Old Order Amish: Their Enduring Way of Life
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993 - Amish - 187 pages
Thoroughly out of place in modern America - yet powerfully reminiscent of the American past - the Old Order Amish inspire both curiosity and admiration. But Amish life is far from the quaint and romantic existence often portrayed in conventional picture books. With extraordinary color photographs and an authoritative text, Old Order Amish captures not only the familiar beauty and charm of Amish life but also its richness and complexity.
Photographer Lucian Niemeyer earned the trust and friendship of Amish families by helping to harvest crops on their farms in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County, site of one of the oldest Amish settlements in North America. After "many back-breaking days" in the fields, he gained acceptance in a community that draws sharp lines of separation from the outside world - and has, by tradition, shunned photography. With the encouragement of his Amish friends who welcomed the chance to correct inaccurate accounts of Amish ways, Niemeyer began to assemble this honest and sensitive photographic record. He worked without filters or darkroom manipulations, using only natural light. The results are unprecedented - photographs of families, community gathering, even the seldom seen interiors of Amish homes and schools. These unique images capture the deliberate simplicity and the natural beauty that characterize Amish life in Lancaster County.
In the accompanying text, Donald Kraybill - author of the highly acclaimed Riddle of Amish Culture - tells the often surprising story of today's Old Order Amish. His introduction provides a sweeping overview of Amish life in North America and explains how a traditional people have managed not merely to survive but to flourish in the midst of modern life. In thirty-five vignettes throughout the book, Kraybill explains Amish views on issues ranging from "Childbirth" and "Women Entrepreneurs" to "The Riddles of Farm Machinery," "Sowing Wild Oats," and "The Politics of Separation." His concluding essay examines why modern observers are so drawn to the Amish and their traditional values.
Old Order Amish details the rigors of hard work, the strength of family and community, the discipline of the religious Ordnung, and the ingenious Amish compromises with modernity. Here at last is an authentic portrait of the Amish - in striking photographs and honest accounts of their daily concerns and enduring traditions.
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The Old Order Amish of North America
Stewards of the Soil
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