Nearly 90 percent of those who grow up Amish choose the Amish way: a lifetime commitment to the faith and a traditional way of life. To outsiders immersed in the daily realities and luxuries of the modern world, this statistic may seem unbelievable. In this in-depth study of Amish adolescence, Richard A. Stevick offers a balanced, comprehensive, and engaging account of the social forces and rituals-including Rumspringa-that contribute to this statistic. In Growing Up Amish, Stevick reveals the world of Amish youth caught between the expectations of their traditional community and the growing pressures and temptations that accompany adolescence. Drawing from a dozen years of research in more than seventy communities in fifteen states, he carefully details home life and school, social singings and wild parties, isolated settlements and Amish youth gangs, and courtship practices and wedding rituals. Stevick shows how the strong and distinct Amish identity is fostered by the entire community-parents, ministers, teachers, and neighbors.
With positive reinforcement and constant modeling of Amish behavior and values, this strong identity keeps most youth from feeling at ease in and identifying with the outside world. This definitive work provides new and important insight into what life is really like for the adolescents, their families, and their communities during the "running around" years and how these fascinating rituals have, in fact, helped the Amish preserve their unique culture.
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 27 mm
In Stevick's engaging narrative, he profiles the religious foundation of the Amish, its history, culture and schooling, the Amish at work and play, the tradition of weekly singing, and dating and courtship. History Wire 2007 A thorough and in-depth analysis of the formative in-between years when the young Amish generation approaches the lifestyle-determining threshold of adulthood. Bloomsbury Review 2007 A 'must' for any collection strong in either Amish history and culture or regional American community sociology. Bookwatch 2007 Many of the author's insights are intriguing... an impressive book. Peaceful Societies 2007 A 'must' for any collection strong in either Amish history and culture or regional American community sociology. Midwest Book Review 2007 The author discusses the teenagers' education, teen culture, rumpsringa or 'running around' years, and courtships and weddings... Useful for anyone studying adolescence and cultural identity and adolescence, this work will become an important classic in the field of Amish and Anabaptist studies. Choice A pleasurable read and responsible treatment of an interesting subject. -- James Benedict Brethren Life and Thought 2007 The author deftly interweaves the pressures to conform to the fabric of Amish life, highlighting the roles of religion, school, family and community. The book provides an overview of Amish adolescence and also serves as a more general primer for Amish life. Mennonite Quarterly Review 2008 So why do so many Amish teens choose to remain within the Amish fold rather than pursue greater freedom outside the community? The answer can be found in Stevick's book. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion An excellent introduction or primer about the Amish. In fact, I intend to adopt the book for a course I teach on 'Amish Society' at Ohio State University. -- Joseph F. Donnermeyer Agricultural History 2009