OVERRIDE

Rumspringa

To Be or Not to Be Amish

Tom Shachtman

North Point Press

A revelatory look at Amish youth as they have never been looked at before

Rumspringa is a fascinating 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. Through vivid portraits of teenagers in Ohio and Indiana, Tom Shachtman
offers an account of Amish life as a mirror to the soul-searching and questing that we recognize as a generally intrinsic part of adolescence.

The trappings of the Amish way of life--the "plain" clothes and electricity-free farms--conceal the communities' mystery: how they manage to retain their young people and perpetuate themselves generation after generation. The key to this is the rumspringa, when Amish youth are allowed to live outside the bounds of their faith, experimenting with alcohol, premarital sex, trendy clothes, telephones, drugs, and wild parties. By allowing them such freedom, 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 out 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 an original and deeply affecting portrait of the Amish as a whole.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Excerpted from Rumspringa by Tom Shachtman. Copyright © 2006 by Tom Shachtman. Published in June 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.
 
1
 
"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;
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REVIEWS

Praise for Rumspringa

"If there are two groups that are difficult for an outsider to understand, it's surely Amish and adolescents--but Shachtman's book penetrates their world and provides a wealth of fascinating information. Oh, and it's really
fun to read, too." --Mark Oppenheimer, author of THIRTEEN AND A DAY

Reviews from Goodreads

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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

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

North Point Press

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