New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State

Overview

In a book that highlights the existence and diversity of Amish communities in New York State, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner draws on twenty-five years of observation, participation, interviews, and archival research to emphasize the contribution of the Amish to the state's rich cultural heritage.

While the Amish settlements in Pennsylvania and Ohio are internationally known, the Amish population in New York, the result of internal migration from those more established settlements, is ...

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New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State

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Overview

In a book that highlights the existence and diversity of Amish communities in New York State, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner draws on twenty-five years of observation, participation, interviews, and archival research to emphasize the contribution of the Amish to the state's rich cultural heritage.

While the Amish settlements in Pennsylvania and Ohio are internationally known, the Amish population in New York, the result of internal migration from those more established settlements, is more fragmentary and less visible to all but their nearest non-Amish neighbors. All of the Amish currently living in New York are post–World War II migrants from points to the south and west. Many came seeking cheap land, others as a result of schism in their home communities.

The Old Order Amish of New York are relative newcomers who, while representing an old or plain way of life, are bringing change to the state. So that readers can better understand where the Amish come from and their relationship to other Christian groups, New York Amish traces the origins of the Amish in the religious confrontation and political upheaval of the Protestant Reformation and describes contemporary Amish lifestyles and religious practices.

Johnson-Weiner welcomes readers into the lives of Amish families in different regions of New York State, including the oldest New York Amish community, the settlement in the Conewango Valley, and the diverse settlements of the Mohawk Valley and the St. Lawrence River Valley. The congregations in these regions range from the most conservative to the most progressive. Johnson-Weiner reveals how the Amish in particular regions of New York realize their core values in different ways; these variations shape not only their adjustment to new environments but also the ways in which townships and counties accommodate—and often benefit from—the presence of these thriving faith communities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a fascinating and much-needed book on the New York Amish. New York is the 'go-to' state for the Amish today, and Johnson-Weiner's book could not have been better timed for publication."—Pennsylvania History

"New York Amish traverses between the history of the Anabaptists in the sixteenth century and anthropological work among contemporary Amish communities. Karen M. Johnson-Weiner makes a notable contribution by bringing Amish history into the larger religious narrative of New York. Throughout, she allows the reader to appreciate the variation and complexity of these communities in a respectful way."—Philip P. Arnold, Syracuse University, coeditor of Sacred Landscapes and Cultural Politics: Planting a Tree

"Karen M. Johnson-Weiner writes fluidly, with a great eye for detail. This book gives ample evidence of the time she spent in intimate relationship with the New York Amish, her love for them, and her desire to present these people to others."—James Hurd, Bethel University, author of Horse-and-Buggy Mennonites

"For those who know much about the Amish, and for those who know little, this book is a treasure. By introducing readers to the Amish communities of New York state, Karen Johnson-Weiner opens new vistas of Amish scholarship and underscores the diversity of Amish life in fresh and compelling ways. Her esteem for her Amish subjects is apparent, though it never detracts from her clear-sighted analysis."—David Weaver-Zercher, Messiah College, author of The Amish in the American Imagination

"This groundbreaking work provides an excellent overview of the Amish communities in the Empire State. It is a must-read for anyone interested in this distinctive religious group."—Donald B. Kraybill, Elizabethtown College, author of The Riddle of Amish Culture

"New York Amish is a fascinating and intriguing look at Amish life in the state that now has the fastest-growing Amish population in the country. We meet farm women and businessmen and schoolteachers. We discover how their communities coalesce and why some settlements fail. We learn what distinguishes various Amish groups from one another and what holds them all together. Clear and thorough, this is a book that will interest scholars as well as any New Yorker who wants to learn more about their growing number of plain neighbors."—Steven M. Nolt, Goshen College, author of Plain Diversity

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801445187
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 691,370
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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