The Riddle of Amish Culture
has become recognized as a classic work on one of America's
most distinctive religious communities.
Donald Kraybill explores the riddle of Amish growth:
How is it that a tradition-laden people who spurn
electricity, the Internet,
automobiles, and higher education
are not merely surviving but are, in fact, thriving in the
midst of postmodern society? The answer,
he argues, lies in how the Amish
negotiate with modernity—rejecting, accepting, and adapting
contemporary views, practices, and
technology in order to both survive and thrive.
Topics in the book include cultural values, religious beliefs and practices,
the rise of Amish schools, Rumspringa, technology,
social change, and interaction with the larger culture.
Kraybill shows how the dramatic shift away from farming into
owning small businesses is transforming Amish culture in
many ways. Using the concept of social capital,
he demonstrates how Amish recreation and social gatherings have
preserved the identity and solidarity of their community.
This landmark study of Amish life in Lancaster County,
Pennsylvania, offers keys to
understanding the riddles of Amish culture in other Amish
communities in North America.