Friday, March 17, 2017

Renegade Amish Beard Cutting, Hate Crimes, and the Trial of the Bergholz Barbers

By Donald B. Kraybill

A very detailed, descriptive account of the Bergholz community and the trial of the people involved in what came to be known as hate crimes against their own Amish people. Kraybill details the Amish-on-Amish beard and hair cutting attacks, the perceived impetus behind them, the changes within the Bergholz community, and the actions of other Amish communities in response to changes in Bergholz. Kraybill follows with complete details of the trial from both the prosecution and the defense teams. He researched and interviewed many people for this book and does an excellent job documenting the events, his findings, and the legal proceedings.

The use of legal system vocabulary makes this more difficult to read than Johnny Mast’s Break Away Amish Growing Up with the Bergholz Beard Cutters but is a great complement to Mast’s book. Between the two books, one can gain an understanding of how Bergholz operated, how the crimes originated, and how people were transformed through the teachings of their Bishop.

~ Miss Deb

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Break Away Amish Growing Up with the Bergholz Beard Cutters

By Johnny Mast

This book, written from the perspective of the grandson of the Bishop in charge of the Bergholz community, details Bergholz turning from a loving, Amish community to an isolated, cult-like community. The grandson explains how he saw small changes enacted Bishop Sam Mullet escalate to bigger changes. When he witnessed some stark situations that shook him to the core, he realized just how far “across the line” the community had travelled.

Johnny Mast’s willingness to testify against family members and loved ones in court attests to his own emotional compass. The actions of the community were comparable to that of hate crimes in society. Knowing the Amish steer away from traditional courts and law enforced punishment, it was intriguing to read how the group had to answer for their crimes. This was an educational and enlightening read. It was much easier to read and understand than Renegade Amish by Donald B. Kraybill.

~ Miss Deb

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir

By Saloma Miller Furlong

Having been acquainted with a few people who have left the Amish, this title piqued my interest. I had read a brief review that this author had made in another Amish-related book and read with interest of her family struggles, ties, and relationships.

This author relays the reasons she found it necessary to leave home. Despite being Amish, her reasons seem to mimic those of other “runaways”: family members, rules, expectations, dysfunction, illness, abuse, and dynamics. The desire for freedom and education forced Saloma to explore the world. The call to come “home” for her father’s funeral created a flood of memories, thoughts, and emotions. The reader can appreciate the detailed discussion of societal norms prevalent with the Amish from this particular church community. The book seems to stop too soon though—perhaps leading to the other work: Bonnet Strings.

~ Miss Deb

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bonnet Strings

 By Saloma Miller Furlong

This memoir of a former Amish woman wan an interesting read.  I especially enjoyed the references to places currently and formerly around the Burton, Ohio area.  It explains many customs of the Amish in the area pertaining to hair, dress, behavior, and shunning.  It is a story of true love, home influences and how maturity allows one to make different decisions. It was quick, enjoyable read that was a great follow up to another of Furlong’s works:  Why I Left the Amish:  A Memoir.

~ Miss Deb

Eliminate Chaos

By Laura Leist

The fun part of this book was having before and after pictures for each area of the home to address. Only want to address how to organize the garage?  Read only that chapter. Want to organize the kitchen?  Read only that chapter.  This book uses the same 10 steps to address several different areas of the home. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining those strategies that work for the individual reader.  Like other home organizing books, the reader should take away those tips that work for them.  Some ideas are easy to implement, others a bit more difficult.

~ Miss Deb