To Be or Not to Be Amish
Author: Tom Shachtman
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).
North Point Press
In The News
“[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