Rumspringa

To Be or Not to Be Amish

Tom Shachtman

North Point Press

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Rumspringa is Tom Shachtman’s celebrated look at a littleknown 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.

In this searching book, Shachtman draws on his skills as a documentarian to capture young people on the cusp of a fateful decision, and to give us “one of the most absorbing books ever written about the Plain People” (Publishers Weekly).

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter One

“Going Away”

In the gathering dusk of a warm, humid summer Friday evening in northern Indiana, small groups of Amish-born girls between the ages of sixteen and nineteen walk along straight country lanes that border flat fields of high cornstalks and alfalfa, dotted here and there with neat, drab houses set back from the roads. One pair of girls walks westward, another pair eastward toward the destination; a threesome travels due south. Although not yet baptized members of the church, these young ladies all wear traditional “plain” Amish garb: solid-colored, long-sleeved

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Reviews

Praise for Rumspringa

“[A] wonderfully rich portrait and history of the Amish as a people.” —Donna Freitas, The Wall Street Journal

“Shachtman is like a maestro, masterfully conducting an orchestra of history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and journalism together in a harmonious and evocative symphony of all things Amish.” —Richard Horan, The Christian Science Monitor

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About the Author

Tom Shachtman

Tom Shachtman is an award-winning documentarian and the author of many books, including Skyscraper Dreams, Around the Block, and The Day America Crashed.

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Available Formats and Book Details

Rumspringa
To Be or Not to Be Amish
Tom Shachtman

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
North Point Press
May 2007
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780865477421
ISBN10: 0865477426
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 304 pages, Includes Notes and a Bibliography
$16.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
North Point Press
May 2007
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466805132
ISBN10: 1466805137
304 pages, Includes Notes and a Bibliography
$9.99
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North Point Press

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