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California Mennonites (Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies) Hardcover – January 9, 2015

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Editorial Reviews


Brian Froese relies extensively on original source materials as he looks carefully at the diversity of Mennonite denominational experiences and adroitly evaluates the way that historic beliefs and practices were impacted by contemporary social, economic, and cultural developments on the West Coast. The first book to focus specifically on the Anabaptist experience in California―a state often associated with health spas and orange groves― California Mennonites is an important and original contribution to Mennonite studies.

(Rod Janzen, coauthor of The Hutterites in North America)

Creative and highly original, California Mennonites situates farmers and preachers, pacifists and professionals in the remarkably diverse social, economic, and racial contexts of the Golden State. As he explores how a sense of place shapes faith communities and how religious people engage their surroundings, Brian Froese deepens our understanding of Mennonites everywhere.

(Steven M. Nolt, co-author of The Amish and Seeking Places of Peace: A Global Mennonite History)

The history of Mennonites in California is unusually rich―a strong Anabaptist (and pacifist) identity taking on some features of modern evangelical Protestantism, original expertise in agriculture developing into a wide range of urban and suburban vocations, a movement rooted in Swiss and German heritage broadening out to include many new ethnicities. Brian Froese’s deeply researched and clearly written study is of course a boon for Mennonites, but will also be read with real interest by students of both American religion and modern California.

(Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame)

Immediate audience for this book will be those with an interest in Mennonite history, others will find it useful as a case study of the effort of a religious group to relate to a new and very different cultural environment.


Sobering, insightful and witty... Froese's treatment of these complex religious transformations is well-balanced, even-handed and well-documented... A solid contribution to the growing understanding of the ways that faith communities engage their worlds and continue to transform.

(Jon Issak Mennonite Brethren Herald)

An insightful study of the California Mennonite story.

(California Mennonite Historical Society Bulletin)

Brian Froese's new history of California Mennonites tackles the vagaries of 'secular Mennonitism' with a scholarly precision not accessible to most undergraduates... California Mennonites is a welcome addition to the blossoming historiography of American Mennonite and Amish culture.

(The Mennonite Quarterly Review)

About the Author

Brian Froese is an associate professor of history at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


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California Mennonites (Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies)
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