Rumspringa: To be Or Not to be Amish

Front Cover
Macmillan, Jan 1, 2006 - Social Science - 286 pages
107 Reviews
A revelatory look at Amish youth as they have never been looked at before Rumspringa is a fascinating look at a little-known Amish coming-of-age ritual, the rumspringa—the period of “running around” that begins for their youth at age sixteen. Through vivid portraits of teenagers in Ohio and Indiana, Tom Shachtman
offers an account of Amish life as a mirror to the soul-searching and questing that we recognize as a generally intrinsic part of adolescence.
The trappings of the Amish way of life—the “plain” clothes and electricity-free farms—conceal the communities’ mystery: how they manage to retain their young people and perpetuate themselves generation after generation. The key to this is the rumspringa, when Amish youth are allowed to live outside the bounds of their faith, experimenting with alcohol, premarital sex, trendy clothes, telephones, drugs, and wild parties. By allowing them such freedom, their parents hope they will learn enough to help them make the most important decision of their lives—whether to be baptized as Christians, join the church, and forever give up worldly ways, or to remain out in the world.
In this searching book, Shachtman draws on his skills as a documentarian to capture young people on the cusp of a fateful decision, and to give us an original and deeply affecting portrait of the Amish as a whole.
  

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A good, straightforward depiction of Amish life. - Goodreads
This was an incredible book -- great insight. - Goodreads
interesting overview of this amish phase of life. - Goodreads
His prose is clear and admirably precise. - Goodreads
Very well researched and written. - Goodreads
April selection for online book club - Goodreads

Review: Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish

User Review  - Crystal - Goodreads

The rumspringa period is intended to give the young Amish some experience of mainstream culture so that they can make informed decisions, when the time comes, about whether or not to join the Amish ... Read full review

Review: Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish

User Review  - Sharon Baker-johnson - Goodreads

Quoted from the author: "The Amish sit lightly upon the earth and upon American society in ways that we could readily adopt: their reverence for life, for the land, for neighborliness, for family ... Read full review

Contents

Going Away
3
A Glory Old Time
34
Straightforward Conversations
60
Prepare for Usefulness
91
Stand Fast and Believe the Word as Written
116
To Keep the Church Pure
148
The Ideal Occupation
173
Working Away
189
Womens Lib Would Have a Field Day Among the Amish
211
Seeking Solutions
232
Coming Home An Essay
251
Note
273
Selected Bibliography
281
Acknowledgmentj
285
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

TOM SHACHTMAN is an award-winning documentarian and the author of many books, including Skyscraper Dreams, Around the Block, and The Day America Crashed.

Bibliographic information