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New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State Hardcover – April 15, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (April 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801445183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801445187
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #962,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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

More About the Author

Karen M. Johnson-Weiner is Professor of Anthropology SUNY Potsdam, where she teaches courses in linguistic anthropology. She holds the Ph.D. in linguistics from McGill University. For over nearly 30 years she has been engaged in the study of Old Order culture, and her work has been supported by a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and grants from the NEH, the Spencer Foundation, and the SUNY Potsdam Research and Creative Endeavors Program. Johnson-Weiner is the author of Train Up a Child: Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), which offers an in-depth exploration of schools in diverse Amish communities. She is also the author of New York Amish. Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State (Cornell University Press, 2010), which explores Amish settlement in New York, a state, which, in recent years, has seen its Amish population skyrocket. Most recently, Johnson-Weiner collaborated with Donald B. Kraybill and Steven M. Nolt in research focused on "Amish Diversity and Identity: Transformations in 20th Century America," which was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The resulting work The Amish (Johns Hopkins 2013) is a comprehensive look at the growing diversity in the Amish world and evolving Amish identities.

Johnson-Weiner's current research focuses on the Swartzentruber Amish, among the most conservative of all Amish groups.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Taber on December 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Amish are one of the fastest growing populations in North America. For years I have been fascinated by many of their agricultural practices. As an educator,I was also intrigued by their school systems. I had little first hand exposure to Amish people. However, in the last few years, there has been a huge influx of different orders of Amish into New York State; many in the area that I live in. An Old Order community has moved into my area, and I now have Amish on three different sides of my farm. So when I saw this book about Amish in New York I snapped it up; and in a nutshell it is an excellent book. The author is a sociologist, and she did a very good job of explaining the history of the Amish and Mennonites, as well as their history and expansion here in New York State. She will have to write a revision soon; since this book's recent publication date several more Amish communities have moved into different areas of the state. She did a very good job of explaining how Amish people live, how they function, and how different various sects of them can be. If you want to know more about Amish people in general and specifically about in New York State this is a fine selection.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Romeyn C. Smith on July 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been waiting for years for a sociologist to come out with a book about NEW YORK Amish - who are much different from the Anabaptists in other states. Growing up with a camp in St. Lawrence County, the Amish have always fascinated me as community. Karen M. Johnson-Weiner's 25-year study has compiled a brief history of who they are and where they came from; how they have dealt with persecution from the Catholic Church, the Protestants, and national governments; and how they maintain their culture in our modern (dominant) world.

Johnson-Weiner answers all those questions I had a child and an adult. Well done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By IBM fan on December 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While a solid, informative read, this book is somewhat stodgy, like oatmeal that has spent too much time on the stove. The good:
- It is understandable.
- Not too badly written.
- Gives an insight into the NY Amish not available elsewhere, especially their diversity.

The bad:
- Reads like a thesis converted into a book: factual, but uninspiring.
- Written as a long list, handling much the same material for each community.
- No mention of items that have appeared in the news like spousal abuse.
- Not enough viewpoints or interviews with individual Amish, and as a result the book is informational, but does give us a overview of Amish life.

Overall a good book, but a bit of a plod.
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