Bookmarks Magazine's Reviews > Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish

Rumspringa by Tom Shachtman
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Feb 05, 2009

Tom Shachtman, a documentary filmmaker, culled the 300 pages of Rumspringa from more than 400 hours of interviews he conducted during and after the making of his 2002 film, Devil's Playground. Much more than a salacious look at teens gone wild, the book is a primer on the fiercely insular Amish culture. Critics praise the author for passing scant judgment and allowing the characters to tell their stories. Although he does weigh in on the misogyny and educational deficits of Amish culture, Shachtman mostly allows readers to think for themselves. If the chorus of voices and thematic, rather than geographical, chapters overwhelm at times, it's the price of thorough research__one most reviewers are glad to pay for this "rare look inside a closed society" (Chicago Sun-Times).

This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.


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