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Amish Books and Information

Amish Fiction | Amish Recipes | Information for Research Papers, Essays, and Speeches

Requests for information about the Amish is a popular question at just about any library Reference Desk. People want to know about Amish fiction books and stories, Amish nonfiction books, Amish recipes, the Amish community, Amish lifestyle, Amish furniture, and much more. This web page makes an attempt at presenting the books, information, and resources to help you find answers to your questions about the Amish.

The Amish have always been seen as a fascinating culture to the non-Amish population, known as “The English” by the Amish. When so many people (Englishers) are desperate to get their hands on the latest technological product, like a smart phone, it is ASTONISHING that there is a group of people who have no desire for such technology. It is simply unimaginable to many of the non-Amish population.

However, the interest in the Amish goes beyond witnessing a culture that is different. With the economy being as terrible as it is and so many people suffering, it is only natural for people to seek escape or look for hope. Compared to an unstable future, the Amish lifestyle offers some degree of security. The Amish environment seems SO serene when compared to the very busy lives that many of the “English” face.

The Amish community is seen as a different place and time where a person can find peace. It offers a simpler life in a “community” where spirituality and order reigns. It is a world that brings back fond memories of a time long gone. It is a nostalgic world of the smells of freshly baked bread, the warmth of grandma’s handmade quilt, and other such pleasures. The colorful green pastures and sounds of a gently, bubbling stream seems a whole lot better than seeing the gray color of concrete office buildings and the sounds of urban traffic.

The following is a list of popular authors of Amish Christian fiction books including a list of their books featuring Amish characters. This includes adult, young adult, and childrens’ fiction as well as nonfiction Amish books. Although a few of these authors are known to be more “authentic” in their depiction of Amish life within their books, you need to remember that these are FICTION stories. The setting is the desired Amish community, BUT many of the authors take some liberty with the storyline in the interest of presenting an interesting or inspirational story. Having said that, the following authors provide a variety of stories that are very popular with readers.

Some of the books, listed below can be found in your local library. If they do not have the books, then please feel free to ask the library staff if they have a free interlibrary loan service. Some of the books may be out-of-print. If you would like to see a review or purchase any of these books then please visit Amazon.com and its used-bookstore associates. Some of the older books can be obtained for a pretty fair price at some of Amazon.com's used-bookstore affiliations.

Amish Fiction Books / Stories

Carrie Bender writes adult Amish fiction, Amish young adult, and Amish children’s / juvenile literature. Many people see Carrie Bender as one of the more accurate storytellers of Amish everyday life. It is understandable why Carrie Bender can write with such authority because what little literature that can be found about Carrie is that the name Carrie Bender is the pseudonym for the daughter of an Old Order Mennonite Bishop. Carrie writes for adult AND youth audiences.  For those readers who are looking for Amish Christian fiction stories/books with attention to accurate depiction of everyday Amish life and the Amish community, then you may want to read some of Carrie Bender’s Amish books, starting with the very popular Miriam’s Journal series.

Wanda Brunstetter writes adult Amish fiction, Amish children’s literature, and nonfiction books such as books featuring Amish recipes. All of Wanda's novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Many of her books are well-read and trusted by the Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs. "Wanda's fascination with the Amish culture developed when she met her husband, Richard, who grew up in a Mennonite church, and whose family has a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Meeting her new Mennonite sister-in-laws caused Wanda to yearn for the simpler life. In their travels, she and her husband have become close friends with many Amish people across America. Wanda's desire to explore their culture increased when she discovered that her great-great grandparents were part of the Anabaptist faith." Wanda provides valuable facts and insight into the Amish lifestyle at her website:http://www.wandabrunstetter.com.


Vanetta Chapman writes adult Amish mysteries.

Amy Clipston writes adult Amish fiction.

Lori Copeland writes mostly Christian fiction that features historical romance, mysteries, and westerns.  However, Lori Copeland offers the “Amish Apple Grove Series.”

Jerry S. Eicher and his wife Tina Eicher have an Amish background. Jerry writes Amish stories. Tina is known for her Amish cooking and translated that into a popular book featuring Amish recipes.

Susanne Woods Fisher writes mostly adult Amish fiction. Suzanne has written historical romance and a couple of Amish children’s books.

B. J. Hoff writes Christian historical romance and historical suspense. However, B.J. has written the Riverhaven Series which is historical Amish.

Beverly Lewis is one of the more well-known authors of Amish fiction. She has written a number of young adult and juvenile books, also. Beverly Lewis knows well the ways of the Amish from being the daughter of a minister and growing up in Amish country in Lancaster.  As she has said in one of her interviews “My mother’s people are Old Order Mennonite-horse and buggy Mennonite, very close cousins to the Amish.” The Shunning, The Confession, and The Reckoning make up one her more popular series The Heritage of Lancaster County Series.

Kim Vogel Sawyer  writes more stories that involve Mennonites than Amish.

Cindy Woodsmall is an author of a number of Amish books. 


Amish Cookbooks with Recipes (Nonfiction)

The Amish Family Cookbook. 2012. Jerry Eicher is a popular author of Amish fiction stories. Jerry's wife Tina is famous for her Amish cooking. The Eichers have an Amish background that helps them provide readers with an authentic look into the Amish community. Tina's Amish Family Cookbook features Amish recipes as well as a warm, welcomed peek into the Amish kitchen and lifestyle. "Readers will laugh, pray, and eat robustly with The Amish Family Cookbook at their side."

Wanda E. Brunstetter is a well-known author of Amish fiction. Wanda has a strong connection to the Amish community and lifestyle. She shares some of the authentic Amish community by providing a few Amish cookbooks with recipes based on the Amish:

Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends’ Cookbook : 200 hearty recipes from Amish Country. 2007. Features Amish and Mennonite recipes.

Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Cookbook. Volume 2 : 200 hearty recipes from Amish Country. 2009. Book one and this book 2 feature authentic Amish and Mennonite recipes through the United States. This book not only presents recipes, but also, information about the Amish communities and photographs.

Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Cookbook : desserts. 2011. Presents over 125 authentic Amish recipes for a variety of desserts.

The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook is a homespun, authentic collection of Amish recipes collected over the years by Beverly Lewis. Many are from her grandmother and other family members as well as dear friends from the Amish world she writes about with such power and authenticity. Now she lovingly shares these with her millions of readers who have come to treasure her insights into Amish life. The additional Amish sayings and line drawings make for an appealing gift. 2004 book.

Lancaster County Cookbook by Louise Stoltzfus. Louise is a native of Lancaster County, and lives in the Seventh Ward neighborhood of Lancaster City. She grew up in an Amish family near Strasburg, Pennsylvania, from whom she inherited her cooking tastes. "The residents of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, are famous for their cooking. Cooks from every corner of Lancaster county and the various neighborhoods of Lancaster City submitted their favorite family recipes to be included in this timeless collection. From their kitchens come these more than 500 recipes which are easy to prepare and pleasant to the palate. A wonderful treasure for people everywhere." 1993 book.

Treasured Amish and Mennonite Recipes: 600 Delicious, Down-to-Earth Recipes from Authentic Country Kitchens is presented by the Mennonite Central Committee. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) works alongside local churches and communities in more than 50 countries, including Canada and the United States, to carry out disaster relief, sustainable community development and justice and peace-building work in the name of Christ. MCC also seeks to build bridges to connect people and ideas across cultural, political and economic divides. 2011 book.


 

Nonfiction Books and Resources that Offer Factual Information about the Amish


Following are some Nonfiction Books that offer factual information to satisfy a person’s personal interest in the Amish or provide information for a student to write a report, essay, or give a speech. In case you are a student who needs to use the following sources for a MLA (Modern Language Association) “Works Cited” page, please click on this MLA Works Cited PDF Link" to view the following sources cited in the latest 2009 edition MLA format. We provide the citations on this web page, BUT the citations may not appear correctly due to your screen monitor size or screen resolution. The PDF file should lock in the proper spacing, double-spacing, hanging indentation, and punctuation.

Whittmer, Joe. The Gentle People: An Inside View of Amish life. Washington, IN : Black Buggy
 

 

  Restaurant & General Store, 2007.


This is a very good book that is approximately 200 pages in length. This book provides enough information to help answer just about any question that you may have about the Amish lifestyle and community. The different sections include introducing The Old Order Amish; Amish origin Amish music; Amish family system; married-pair living; children and growing up; rules for living;  Orders of the Church; footwashing; symbolism of dress;  humility; nicknaming; Church Services and Ordaining Ministers; taking care of older persons; no insurance or involvement with the state; holidays and ceremonies; health and medicine; practicing the common courtesies; Amish newspaper; the budget; courtship, marriage and death;  Amish plan of education; brief history of the problems with public schools; Amish schools; today’s problems in the New Millennium; farming related issues; slow moving vehicle sign controversy; new Amish home-based enterprises; problems with social security; child labor laws;  genetic problems; problems with tourists, and some perplexing compromises with progress.


Nolt, Steven M. A History of the Amish. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2003.

Steven Nolt provides over 300 pages of a very detailed  and complete history of the Amish. This is an excellent book for anyone who wants to know the history of the Amish.

 

Shachtman, Tom. Rumspringa: to be or not be Amish. New York: North Point Press, 2007.

Rumspringa is Tom Shachtman's celebrated look at a little known Amish coming-of-age ritual, the rumspringa-the period of "running around" that begins for their youth at age sixteen. During this time, Amish youth are allowed to live outside the bounds of their faith, experimenting with alcohol, premarital sex, revealing clothes, telephones, drugs, and wild parties. By allowing such broad freedoms, their parents hope they will learn enough to help them make the most important decision of their lives-whether to be baptized as Christians, join the church, and forever give up worldly ways, or to remain in the world.


Stevick, Richard A. Growing Up Amish: The Teenage Years. Baltimore, MD:   

 

  John Hopkins University Press, 2007.


Richard Stevick provides a scholarly look at the Amish’s teenage years. 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.



Wesner, Erik. Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive.  

 

  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010.

Success Made Simple is the first practical book of Amish business success principles for the non-Amish reader. The work provides a platform of transferable principles--simple and universal enough to be applied in the non-Amish world, in a wide variety of business and management settings.

Learn how to develop profitable and fulfilling enterprises as Amish explain how to build fruitful relationships with customers and employees, prosper by playing to strengths, and create an effective marketing story.
Includes interviews with over 50 Amish business owners outline the role of relationships in business and the importance of the big picture-taking in long-term goals, the welfare of others, and personal integrity.

Offers ideas on practical application of Amish business practices to non-Amish businesses, with bullet summaries at the end of each chapter reviewing the most important take-away points.”




Waters, Bruce M. Faces of Lancaster County. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Pub. Ltd., 2011.

Many people are looking for pictorial works that feature the Amish. This is one book that you may want to consider.



Website Resources that Offer Factual Information about the Amish

Following are some Website Resources (including journal articles) that offer factual information to satisfy a person’s personal interest in the Amish or provide information for a student to write a report, essay, or give a speech. We provide the citations on this web page in HTML, BUT the citations may not appear correctly due to your screen monitor size or screen resolution. The PDF file should lock in the proper spacing, double-spacing, hanging indentation, and punctuation.

Greksa, Lawrence P. and Jill E. Kobin. (2004). Amish. In C. R. Ember & M. Eber (Eds.),    

 

  Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology, Volume 2: Cultures (pp. 557-564). New York:

 

  Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press. Retrieved from www.case.edu/artsci/anth/documents/Amish.pdf


“Amish” is a chapter in the book Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology.  Lawrence Greksa and Jill Kobin are the authors of the chapter. C.R. Ember and M. Eber are the editors of Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology.

The Amish chapter provides a lot of very good information about the Amish culture and community including a very brief history of the Amish; overview of the Amish culture; context of health care for the Amish, including the environment, economics, social and political factors; classification of illnesses, theories of illness, and treatment of the illness; sexuality and reproduction; health through the life cycle, pregnancy and birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, the aged, and dying and death. This article can be located at     www.case.edu/artsci/anth/documents/Amish.pdf

 

Amish Studies: The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabeth College in Pennsylvannia located at  http://www2.etown.edu/amishstudies.

“Amish Studies is an academic website developed by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College (Pa.) to provide reliable information on Amish life and culture.”  This website provides quite a few pages of information on a variety of topics about the Amish. A “Frequently Asked Questions” web page can answer many questions that people have about the Amish. However, there are links to more information about the Amish including topics such as: religion, communal values, education, family, government, language, leaderships, jobs, population growth, deviance, health, leisure, Rumspringa, technology, statistics, and much more.

An example of how to cite the “Education” page from this website, according to MLA 2009 would be:

“Education.” Amish Studies. Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown  

 

  College. n.d.  Web. (Place here the date of access such as 24 Aug. 2012)


 

Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission presents “Amish in Pennsylvania” which consists of four pages of information about the Amish. Topics covered: brief history of the Amish; religion; children/education/schools; finances/money; family/kinship; community events/lifestyle; clothing; taxes, and MORE. The web page can be accessed at: http://pa.gov/portal/server.pt/community/groups/4286/amish/471927

“Amish in Pennsylvania.” Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. N.p, n.d. Web.
 

 

  24 Aug. 2012. (Please note that 24 Aug. 2012 is example of the date that you retrieved the article from the Web.)




Rearick, Elizabeth. “Amish Culture and Healthcare.”  University of Arizona College of Nursing.
 

 

  n.d. Web. (Type your date of access such as 24 Aug. 2012)

This appears to be a student’s research paper / article that is presented on a web page maintained by the University of Arizona’s College of Nursing. A popular topic at many nursing schools is Transcultural / multicultural / cultural nursing. Many different cultures have their own views / perspectives on healthcare. This particular article provides credible information on how the Amish deal with healthcare. This article is located at http://juns.nursing.arizona.edu/articles/Fall%202003/rearick.htm

 

The Amish and the Law: A Religious Minority and its Legal Encounters is a scholarly research article that is published in the Washington and Lee Law Review. This is a 1984 article. The date might be a concern for outdated material, BUT much of the article has to do with the history of the Amish so the date may not be that big of factor. The paper covers a brief history of the Amish; charter of the Amish community; Ordnung; excommunication and shunning; pressure to conform; education; compulsory insurance; and the Amish uses of the Law.  The information provides a historical look at the Amish, especially related to the Law. The URL is very LONG. Please click on the following long link:

http://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2112&context=wlulr&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Damish%2Band%2Ba%2Breligous%2Bminority%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D1%26cad%3Drja%26ved%3D0CCIQFjAA%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fscholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D2112%2526context%253Dwlulr%26ei%3D9XuBUJHNFYaWqgGjpoDwDw%26usg%3DAFQjCNEFC7d7F1-_Ir0YHh9tjmOR04gjwA#search=%22amish%20religous%20minority%22

 

Hostetler, John A. “The Amish and the A Religious Minority and its Legal Encounters.” Washington
 

 

  and Lee Law Review 41.1 (1984): 33-47. Web. (Type the date that you accessed the article.)

 

 

American Culture through Amish Eyes: Perspectives on an Anarchist Protest Movement. This scholarly research article “identifies the countercultural and anarchistic elements of Amish society and outlines its resemblance to social movements and to other separationist/pacifist societies of the past.”  In presenting this perspective, the author provides A LOT of very interesting characteristics of the Amish. If you just want to know more about the Amish culture, then this is worth the read. You do NOT have to agree or disagree with the author’s thesis.

Very interesting information is presented about crime within the Amish community; views on factory life; involvement with legal system; military status; shunning; manual labor / jobs/ employment / business; ordnung; population growth; materialism; technology; art; deviant behavior; and non-violence and civil disobedience.  Something very interesting about this article that is hard to find in other sources, is the relation of the Amish lifestyle to the scripture in the Bible. The author gives examples of why the Amish do specific things based on their interpretation of specific Bible passages. Some parts of Amish life are explained according to scripture. For example, here are two paragraphs on page 94 that help explain some of the Amish culture and lifestyle. The wellspring and continuing inspiration for Amish anarchism is religion, and is to be found in the Anabaptist interpretation of the Holy Bible. Two of the most important biblical passages for Anabaptists are the scriptural admonitions to Be not conformed to this world and to Be not unequally yoked to unbelievers(Hostetler 1993).

Being unconfirmed to the world means, to the Amish, that they are obliged to seek conformity to the norms of Christianity and to the role model provided by the life of Jesus. Yet is left to each church district to develop its own specific interpretations of precisely how to be different, e.g. in matters of local technological adaptations, permissible occupations, allowable places of residence, and so on.
This nineteen-page article provides very interesting insight into the world of the Amish. The article is free and can be accessed at http://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/dspace/bitstream/1808/5128/1/STARV20N1-2A7.pdf

Foster, Thomas W. “American Culture through Amish Eyes: Perspectives of an Anarchist Protest
 

 

  Movement. MARS/Social Thought & Research 20.1-2 (1997): 89-198. Web. (Place access date after Web.)

 


Some of the items listed above, can be found in your local library. If they do not have the items, then please feel free to ask the library staff if they have a free interlibrary loan service. Some of the books may be out-of-print. If you would like to see a review or purchase any of these books then please visit Amazon.com and its used-bookstore associates. Some of the older books can be obtained for a pretty fair price at some of Amazon.com's used-bookstore affiliations.


 

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