16 responses to Best Amish Non-Fiction Books
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    Comment on Thanks (November 5th, 2014 at 07:26)


    This is great- a handy, comprehensive list.

    This ought to be required reading before anyone would be allowed to watch those faux Amish reality series on TV.

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      Comment on Best Amish Non-Fiction Books (November 5th, 2014 at 11:00)

      I agree Greg, but wonder about attention spans…If only we could boil some of these books down into an easily consumable half-hour program 🙂

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        Comment on ...Amish Businesses Thrive – by Erik Wesner (October 21st, 2016 at 11:45)

        ...Amish Businesses Thrive – by Erik Wesner

        Thank you, Erik Wesner, for this website and the great selection of books on the Amish! I enjoyed taking the time to read virtually every word of your comments. As I read, I kept thinking that their lifestyle and behavior can all be summed up in “The Amish/Mennonite/Anabaptist…etc.” attempts to obey Scriptural warrant! Since I first heard of “Amish/Mennonite” when a teen, I’ve had that impression and continue to appreciate it very much!

        I’m particularly interested in your own book on “Businesses…” and can attest to why they thrive!

        I’ve had occasions to contact such businesses in my own relatively simple lifestyle in Texas.

        I hope to get your book, and learn if perhaps you mentioned them.
        1. a friend recommended I contact an Amish harness maker for my mule team needs. The best harness I could have found!
        2. When I needed help restoring a wringer washer, Leyman’s (a favorite resource) recommended an Ohio neighbor, Bunker Hill Appliance, in Millersburg. Not only did the owners help me identify the washer’s origin, and supply me with the needed parts, but clearly “went the extra mile” to teach me via phone and letter, how to install, and recommended materials to purchase locally for completing the project!

        Kudos to you, Sir, and to all folks who strive to live a Simple Life according to Scripture!

        Shalom Shalom!

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    Robert Gschwind
    Comment on Book List (November 5th, 2014 at 07:34)

    Book List

    Thank you, for the list I see a few that I don’t have. Always appreciate the work.

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      Comment on Best Amish Non-Fiction Books (November 5th, 2014 at 11:03)

      Gladly Robert! It had been annoying me for a good while that for all the author interviews and books we have featured on this site over the years, we didn’t have anywhere to find a comprehensive list of good reading on the Amish. The list isn’t perfect but I gave it a good shot. No doubt there will be additions to the list over time.

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    Comment on Thank you so much! (November 5th, 2014 at 08:36)

    Thank you so much!

    Your website is a valuable resource to anyone interested in the Amish lifestyle; however, to me…………..you are just the best! I am currently in my Capstone project to complete a Masters degree in Liberal Arts. My project is to create an online course for undergraduates entitled “Introduction to Amish Culture.” I have quite the collection of material, but have been wondering which book I could use as “required reading” in my course. Your presentation just made that decision much easier. PLUS, I found a few I had not yet known about. Thanks again!

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      Comment on Thanks! (November 5th, 2014 at 11:05)


      That’s a great idea Barbara! I think a course like that would provide a good service and would garner a lot of interest. Glad if this list could be of help. I’d be curious to hear how the course goes.

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    Melissa W.
    Comment on Amish and Plain non-fiction book list (November 6th, 2014 at 22:02)

    Amish and Plain non-fiction book list

    The book that was my fave from this list was ‘On the Backroad to Heaven’. It was very reader friendly. I started to read ‘The Amish’, but it was a little too in-depth and sociological theory oriented. It would be a great book however for those who want a really comprehensive treatment. i have read several of the People’s Place books and they are excellent for people who are new to the Amish and want really good general info.

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    Comment on The Best Books on the Amish (November 9th, 2014 at 10:33)

    Thank you Erik for this very nice list. I would also add the Concise encyclopedia from Dr Kraybill and co.

    Please note – and for french-talking people – that the books ‘Amish Grace’, ‘History of the Amish’, and ‘The Amish’ (not so recent as this one here presented) have been translated into french 🙂

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      Comment on Best Amish Non-Fiction Books (November 10th, 2014 at 00:45)

      I agree with you Bob – it’s actually already included in the Others section of General Knowledge.

      I know Amish Grace made it into Japanese as well 🙂 http://amishamerica.com/amish-readers-respond-to-amish-grace-amish-grace-in-japan/

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        Comment on Best Books About the Amish (November 10th, 2014 at 09:54)

        It seems indeed reconciliation meets universal needs…
        Have a nice day,
        and with my best wishes of peace,

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    Patsy Hoekstra
    Comment on Do Amish Girls Have Rights? (March 22nd, 2015 at 10:54)

    Do Amish Girls Have Rights?

    Thank you for a great website and list of Amish reading. So far, I have only read the titles and descriptions, not the books themselves.

    It doesn’t appear that any one is looking at the life of Amish girls much. The teenage girls in the very conservative sect near me in St. Claire County Missouri grow up with slim prospects to leave the Order if they want to.
    Their formal education is limited to something less than eighth grade. If they leave the order, their job prospects are limited to childcare, cleaning, farm chores like milking or chicken processing, cooking, rug and quilt making, sewing. Most don’t have birth certificates, ID’s of any kind, or social security numbers. If they have paying jobs, like cleaning the Methodist church near me, the money goes directly to an elder/wife who has a bank account and ss #.

    I would like to help a very restless 16 y.o. get her high school equivalency online, but it requires a ss # to register. She is buying risque “English” clothes at Goodwill when its just a ride to town with other trusted teen girls. I love this child. The girls and their parents trust me. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is not part of the life or future of these girls. I am trying to act wisely and slowly, as a 63 yo woman should. This situation has me very conflicted.

    I believe that God, if he exists, gave man the gift of freewill (Story of Cain and Able). These girls are virtually prisoners, trapped in their ordnung clothes, no education, almost no prospects to survive in the world on their own. At least boys get marketable skill sets,like carpentry and construction. It’s heartbreaking that these girls have such dismal prospects. Just marriage, family and borderline poverty if not outright dirt poor.

    There’s no books about girls because there’s not much to write about, I suppose

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      Works With Amish
      Comment on Legal Documents (March 23rd, 2015 at 05:57)

      Legal Documents

      I can assure you, Patty, the Amish do have birth certificates and social security numbers and in many areas, also ID. Our Amish employees, including girls, are legally documented. See other posts on here about jobs Amish girls or single women in many communities might pursue.

      In many cases, a child under 21 does give their paycheck to their parents who then give a percentage to the child as an allowance and split the rest between savings account for said minor and a contribution towards living expenses. On the other hand, the parents typically provide ALL expenses for a child up to the age of 21, including personal toiletries, clothing, shoes, travel expenses, medical costs, even money to buy gifts for their boyfriend or girlfriend, or at least in the case of our employees.

      If the Amish in your area are NOT legally documented, it needs to be reported. I am guessing the church she is cleaning could get in a sticky situation if they are paying an undocumented worker. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d be leery of taking the risk.

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        Patsy Hoekstra
        Comment on Great Certainty (March 24th, 2015 at 23:28)

        Great Certainty

        Our Amish employees…

        Well, it’s not like that here, I know the girls, I know the parents and I know the payments made by the church secretary don’t go to the girls. This is not rumor or gossip. I know all of the girls who take turns with the weekly church cleaning. They park their buggy at my house and let their horse graze inside my yard fence. Last Christmas Day I attended the wedding supper of one of these girls in her parents’ home. I was the only English person there.

        The girls do get a portion of the money as an allowance. Their work prospects are very slim. They are not allowed to work in any public place (stores, restaurants, offices, factory). This Amish group does not even have many stores or shops; maybe one metal shop, small repair shops in the barn and the like. None in the group is allowed refrigeration.

        The children are supported until they are 20 and a half years old. I have asked the wife of the elder, with whom I have warm and close ties, if I could leave my house, small acreage and modest savings to one or more of the girls or in trust to them, since I have no heirs. After a time and discussions with her husband, I was told that it was not possible. She and her husband would be the ones that would inherit if I wanted them to have it and they would see after the estate for the girl(s). At that time,I asked specifically if the girl(s) could get SS #’s, but she said no.

        I am not sure why you believe what you wrote applies to all Amish, but I can assure you it does not, with great certainty. BTW, I am not going to report any of my Amish friends to anyone. What a crass thing to suggest. Please don’t make trouble.

        Thank you for your answer and allowing me to participate in this forum. It’s been a pleasure.

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          Works With Amish
          Comment on Re: With Great Certainty (March 25th, 2015 at 09:37)

          Re: With Great Certainty

          We have some very conservative Amish (Swartzentrubers) in our area and they have birth certificates, SS#’s, etc. though not photo ID. I erroneously assumed that if they have such legal documents, others will as well. I was wrong and stand corrected. I have learned since posting yesterday there is an Amish group out of Kenton, OH, who do not have all the legal documents, so maybe your community has a similar group. I also learned those Amish are having difficulties with authorities over Obama-Care exemptions and tax issues.

          When I suggested they should be reported, it was the girls’ safety and futures I was concerned about, not getting anyone in trouble. I’m sorry I was crass, but think of what those girls are going to face should they ever decide to leave or need to reach out for outside help. There is a potential for danger for those girls if they don’t officially exist. I’m not an expert, but I am concerned. I know that standards for female employment vary and these girls evidently live in a very oppressive community. Breaks my heart — I contrast that with the ones I see every day and it really concerns me. Bless you for wanting to leave those girls a home! The degree of control I’m reading in this is disturbing, but not typical. I showed this to some of our employees and one said it sounds like a cult, and that is coming directly from an Amish girl.

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            Amish Girl-Rebecca
            Comment on To "Works with the Amish" and Patsy (May 16th, 2015 at 13:12)

            To "Works with the Amish" and Patsy

            This group does sound like a cult.I believe most of even the Swartzentrubers around here have SS# and birth certificates.Many of Old and New Order have photo IDs and some even have passports.Typically we can get a good job around here(w/o a high school diploma) and we keep our paychecks after a certain age , usually 20 or 21.And before that we get an allowance.We all have free choice if we want to join church or get married or stay single and hold a job.I’m always sad when I hear stories like this.

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