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Amish Society

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  159 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Highly acclaimed in previous editions, this classic work by John Hostetler has been expanded and updated to reflect current research on Amish history and culture as well as the new concerns of Amish communities throughout North America.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published May 1st 1968)
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Gene Bales
This work by a former member of the Amish community turned sociologist is a bit old (published in the 1960's), but an excellent introduction to the religious life of the Amish. While the Amish have always been a curiosity for many, I find much to admire about their life, certainly about the way they live out the message of Jesus.

At the same time, however, I found myself thinking a great deal about how my own experience of Catholicism back in the 50's and 60's was not all that different. I refer
I have an obsession with the Amish community. The author of this book grew up Amish...but he does not share much from his experiences. The book is interesting and easy to read and comprehend. If you are only going to read one book about the Amish, I recommend the other book-- The Riddle of the Amish Culture, but this one is also good.
Cass Wessel
I read this book for research purposes, as such it is a good textbook. Chock full of anecdotes and personal experiences written by an author who grew up Amish, this book gives an honest peek inside this reclusive religious group. However, the reader should not expect a thrilling or "can't put it down" read. This IS a textbook and like all textbooks tends to be analytical as well as informative. If historical research is your objective, this is a "go to" book for that purpose, especially since it ...more
Jan 25, 2015 Kathy added it
Shelves: culture, religion
This is a very intriguing society. On the one hand it's awesome that they are able to be a people who don't use technology, but on the other they don't believe in knowledge for the sake of knowledge and they are hypocrites because they do use technology sometimes. They let others drive them around and some use tractors. I say if you're going to make a rule, stick to it. Don't pretend like you're not doing something. It's hard for me to decide if it's a life I could live. I like that they farm an ...more
This was written by a former Amishman who became a sociologist (He taught at Penn State). With both the background and the training, it's not surprising that it's compelling. (My one quibble is that it's a little rambling and repetitive). I had no idea that it was common for Amish teenage boys to go to Florida during the winter to be Bellboys in hotels.

Given that this was published in 1963, it has to be rather out of date, though I'd think less so for the Amish than for most groups, given their
We spent two days in Pennsylvania. I wanted so much to be Amish when I was a child. My great escape from the insanity of my household in the early years was to play in the backyard alone and pretend I was a "prairie girl." When we travelled to Pennsylvania in 1969, just before my parents divorced, I saw the Amish people and begged for my parents to leave me there as I was sure their life would be better than the one I was living. So began my interest and study of the Amish people. Our grandchild ...more
Katrina King
This is an absolutely invaluable book for understanding the Amish!
This is still the most respected volume ever written on Amish Society. It was my textbook when I was editing our magazine, "Heritage Country." I tried very hard not to make mistakes in print regarding Amish people and culture. I learned a lot more from experience than from books, though. Hostetler's book is full of excellent scholarship, and he himself was born Amish. For anyone who lives near Amish communities, it is a helpful, though somewhat heavy at times, compendium of topics regarding Amis ...more
Jill Crosby
The definitive text on the Amish religion & culture. It's slightly dated, but meticulously documented.
I read this book just to learn about the Amish society. It was very interesting when talking specifically about their lifestyle and beliefs. The beginning chapters about their history and immigrating from Europe were less interesting, but I'm glad I spent time learning something instead of just reading for entertainment.
Jun 13, 2007 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: religion scholars, anyone interested in the Amish
Shelves: amish, classics
This is *the* work on the Amish. I recently attended an academic conference on the Amish, and nearly every scholar referenced John Hostetler at least once. If you've read some of the (high-quality) books put out by The People's Place and would really like to know more, this is where to look.
Aug 06, 2011 Keith added it
Amish communities are growing in number and acceptance today. These societies become more and more interesting as the world becomes more and more complex. This is a good book for an overview on Amish beginnings, beliefs, and lifestyle.
I didn't finish this book but need to take it back to the library. It was very interesting though not a griping novel but it starts the brain thinking and I enjoyed learning a bit more of the beginings of the religion and the culture.
The author grew up in an Old Order Amish family, so he is something of an authority in a personal sense. It covers just about every aspect of their lives as well as their origins and their struggles to preserve their way of life.
Oddly enough this is an unforgettable book & one that I'll never give away. It provides interesting information about the Amish. It's one that I will pick up every so often & turn to any page & whatever is there, is interesting!
Jennifer Leavitt-wipf
Very informative and thorough look at the Amish, their background, their customs and beliefs. Generally easy to read and well written. Sometimes verbose and repetitive, but it's easy enough to skim when that's arises.
Aug 30, 2009 Kris rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: gaveup
It's not really this book's fault; I'm just not in much of a non-fiction mood, plus it's pretty outdated by now (though does that matter with the Amish?) so I quit reading it. It's well-written and informative though.
Sep 21, 2008 Serena marked it as to-read
A fascinating and well structured book about the lives of the Amish. I am putting this one off for a little bit, as I'm going to begin reading the Anita Shreve book and I may be in over my head.
A sympathetic and interesting approach to the Amish, covering the origin of the movement, its development, fragmenting, and adjustments to maintain distance from contemporary society. I liked it.
Good little anthropological study of the Amish. The author is formerly Amish and is a little too apologetic at times; but all in all a good treatment of an interesting subject.
This book was very resourceful to have a deeper look into the Amish life/ways of living.
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