The Good, the Bad, and the Hungry Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers



I'm not a bookseller, but I'm married to one, and Square Books is a family. And we all know about families and how hard it is to disassociate... Continue »

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$6.95
Used Book Club Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Local Warehouse Christianity- Amish, Mennonite, and Hutterite

This title in other editions

Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish

by

Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Joe Mackall has lived surrounded by the Swartzentruber Amish community of Ashland County, Ohio, for over sixteen years. The Swartzentrubers live without gas, electricity, or indoor plumbing; without lights on their buggies or cushioned chairs in their homes; and without rumspringa, the recently popularized “running-around time” that some Amish sects allow their sixteen-year-olds.

Over the years, Mackall has developed a steady relationship with the Shetler family (Samuel and Mary, their nine children, and their extended family). Plain Secrets tells the Shetlers story over these years, using their lives to paint a portrait of Swartzentruber Amish life and mores. During this time, Samuels nephew rejects the Amish way of life; his bright young daughter reaches the end of school for Amish children; and Samuel faces difficulties in his new role as a church leader.

These and other stories from the life of the family reveal the larger questions posed by the Amish way of life. If the continued existence of the Amish in the midst of modern society asks us to consider the appeal of traditional, highly restrictive, and gendered religious communities, it also asks how we romanticize or condemn these communities—and why.

“In simple but elegant prose that matches the values of his subject, Joe Mackall takes us deep into the Amish community. He neither romanticizes nor condemns an alternate way of living, but provides stunning insight through the generosity and compassion of his own heart.” —Chris Offutt, author of The Same River Twice and Kentucky Straight

“Joe Mackall's Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among The Amish meets the biggest challenge of a book such as this by living up to his subtitle: Mackall is both outside and among in equal measure, and it's the most difficult terrain to occupy. Plain Secrets vibrates in that in-betweenness, in ways that only songs or poems usually can, and it does so in prose that's as clear as water. Its built the way the Amish build their barns—everything here is plumb and level.” —Diana Hume George, author of The Lonely Other: A Woman Watching America

“Joe Mackall's patience, empathy, and dogged curiosity illuminate this fine, fascinating study of an elusive culture. Plain Secrets is a provocative, humbling, and soulful book.” —Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of Lincolns Melancholy

“…Mackall does the job beautifully, painting an intimate portrait of the family that leaves the reader feeling humbled by the common thread thats woven into all of us.” —Sarah English, Cleveland Magazine

“Mackall's writing is an honest and refreshing change from the customary saccharin scribbling about the Noble Amish Man. Despite, or perhaps because of, Mackall's refusal to perch the Amish on a pedestal, he manages to convey a deep respect for the people.” —Lancaster New Era

“. . . he writes with a forthright precision.” —Akron Beacon Journal

Joe Mackall is author of The Last Street Before Cleveland. A professor of English and journalism at Ashland University, he is coeditor of the journal River Teeth and has written for NPRs Morning Edition, the Washington Post, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, among other publications. He lives near Cleveland, Ohio.

Review:

"In an engaging personal memoir, Mackall, an Ohio-based writer and professor of English, describes the close-knit relationship he has cultivated over more than a decade with a neighboring Amish family. This is neither an expos nor an outsider's fanciful romanticization of the Amish. By focusing on the loves and losses of one large Amish clan, Mackall breathes life into a complex group often idealized or caricatured. He refers, for example, not to 'the Amish' writ large, but instead to 'the Swartzentruber Amish I know,' describing in some detail the tremendous differences between the Swartzentrubers, by far the most traditional sect, and the Old Order, New Order, Beachy and other Amish groups. The Swartzentrubers not only eschew electricity but also padded or upholstered chairs, souped-up buggies, indoor plumbing, the tradition of rumspringa (a running-around period for some Amish teens) and — perhaps most important for this narrative — contact with 'the English.' Mackall's is the first book to venture behind-the-scenes of this most conservative Amish group. At times Mackall is critical of the Swartzentruber way of life (such as when an eight-year-old girl dies in a buggy accident because the sect rejects safety measures for buggies), but it is a deeply respectful account that never veers toward sensationalism. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Joe Mackall has lived surrounded by the Swartzentruber Amish community of Ashland County, Ohio, for over sixteen years. They are the most traditional and insular of all the Amish sects: the Swartzentrubers live without gas, electricity, or indoor plumbing; without lights on their buggies or cushioned chairs in their homes; and without rumspringa, the recently popularized "running-around time" that some Amish sects allow their sixteen-year-olds.

Over the years, Mackall has developed a steady relationship with the Shetler family (Samuel and Mary, their nine children, and their extended family). Plain Secrets tells the Shetlers' story over these years, using their lives to paint a portrait of Swartzentruber Amish life and mores. During this time, Samuel's nephew Jonas finally rejects the strictures of the Amish way of life for good, after two failed attempts to leave, and his bright young daughter reaches the end of school for Amish children: the eighth grade. But Plain Secrets is also the story of the unusual friendship between Samuel and Joe. Samuel is quietly bemused—and, one suspects, secretly delighted—at Joe's ignorance of crops and planting, carpentry and cattle. He knows Joe is planning to write a book about the family, and yet he allows him a glimpse of the tensions inside this intensely private community.

These and other stories from the life of the family reveal the larger questions posed by the Amish way of life. If the continued existence of the Amish in the midst of modern society asks us to consider the appeal of traditional, highly restrictive, and gendered religious communities, it also asks how we romanticize or condemn these communities—and why. Mackall's attempt to parse these questions—to write as honestly as possible about what he has seen of Amish life—tests his relationship with Samuel and reveals the limits of a friendship between "English" and Amish.

Synopsis:

Journalist Mackall writes about his surprising friendship with an Amish family trying to live a simple life in a complex world.

About the Author

Joe Mackall is author of The Last Street Before Cleveland. A professor of English and journalism at Ashland University, he is coeditor of the journal River Teeth and has written for NPR's Morning Edition, the Washington Post, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, among other publications. He lives near Cleveland, Ohio.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780807010648
Subtitle:
An Outsider among the Amish
Author:
Mackall, Joe
Publisher:
Beacon Press
Location:
Boston
Subject:
General
Subject:
Religious
Subject:
Sociology of Religion
Subject:
Christianity - Amish
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Amish
Subject:
Religious life and customs
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
Amish -- Social life and customs.
Subject:
Mackall, Joe
Subject:
General Religion
Subject:
Christianity-Amish and Mennonite
Subject:
Christianity-Amish, Mennonite, and Hutterite
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
June 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.81 x 5.78 x .91 in 1 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Whose Bible Is It?: A History of the... Used Hardcover $5.50
  2. Portable Hannah Arendt Used Trade Paper $9.00
  3. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius...
    Used Trade Paper $6.50
  4. Health Promotion and Aging :... Used Hardcover $48.00
  5. Cheaper By the Dozen Used Mass Market $2.95
  6. Stuffed: The Story of a Restaurant... Used Hardcover $4.50

Related Subjects

Biography » Religious
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Religion » Christianity » Amish, Mennonite, and Hutterite
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Western Religions » Social and Political Issues

Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish Used Book Club Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Beacon Press - English 9780807010648 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In an engaging personal memoir, Mackall, an Ohio-based writer and professor of English, describes the close-knit relationship he has cultivated over more than a decade with a neighboring Amish family. This is neither an expos nor an outsider's fanciful romanticization of the Amish. By focusing on the loves and losses of one large Amish clan, Mackall breathes life into a complex group often idealized or caricatured. He refers, for example, not to 'the Amish' writ large, but instead to 'the Swartzentruber Amish I know,' describing in some detail the tremendous differences between the Swartzentrubers, by far the most traditional sect, and the Old Order, New Order, Beachy and other Amish groups. The Swartzentrubers not only eschew electricity but also padded or upholstered chairs, souped-up buggies, indoor plumbing, the tradition of rumspringa (a running-around period for some Amish teens) and — perhaps most important for this narrative — contact with 'the English.' Mackall's is the first book to venture behind-the-scenes of this most conservative Amish group. At times Mackall is critical of the Swartzentruber way of life (such as when an eight-year-old girl dies in a buggy accident because the sect rejects safety measures for buggies), but it is a deeply respectful account that never veers toward sensationalism. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Joe Mackall has lived surrounded by the Swartzentruber Amish community of Ashland County, Ohio, for over sixteen years. They are the most traditional and insular of all the Amish sects: the Swartzentrubers live without gas, electricity, or indoor plumbing; without lights on their buggies or cushioned chairs in their homes; and without rumspringa, the recently popularized "running-around time" that some Amish sects allow their sixteen-year-olds.

Over the years, Mackall has developed a steady relationship with the Shetler family (Samuel and Mary, their nine children, and their extended family). Plain Secrets tells the Shetlers' story over these years, using their lives to paint a portrait of Swartzentruber Amish life and mores. During this time, Samuel's nephew Jonas finally rejects the strictures of the Amish way of life for good, after two failed attempts to leave, and his bright young daughter reaches the end of school for Amish children: the eighth grade. But Plain Secrets is also the story of the unusual friendship between Samuel and Joe. Samuel is quietly bemused—and, one suspects, secretly delighted—at Joe's ignorance of crops and planting, carpentry and cattle. He knows Joe is planning to write a book about the family, and yet he allows him a glimpse of the tensions inside this intensely private community.

These and other stories from the life of the family reveal the larger questions posed by the Amish way of life. If the continued existence of the Amish in the midst of modern society asks us to consider the appeal of traditional, highly restrictive, and gendered religious communities, it also asks how we romanticize or condemn these communities—and why. Mackall's attempt to parse these questions—to write as honestly as possible about what he has seen of Amish life—tests his relationship with Samuel and reveals the limits of a friendship between "English" and Amish.

"Synopsis" by , Journalist Mackall writes about his surprising friendship with an Amish family trying to live a simple life in a complex world.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.