Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Review: Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-Zercher

It's actually been over a week from when I finished listening to Amish Grace, as it was before listening to Born on a Blue Day, but I just realized that I hadn't given it a review yet and, feeling at a loss for what to post today, I decided to go ahead and do it now.

Amish Grace is the story of the school shootings at the Amish community, Nickle Mines, in 2006. I picked it up because I have an interest in the Amish, for whatever reasons...I think the simplicity that they live by is attractive to me. I sometimes, to the dismay of my family, think we should get rid of the TV and computer and I'm always giving thought to how to be less of a consumer. I almost didn't check it out because of the subject matter. I wasn't sure I wanted to read about kids getting shot.

I am glad I picked it up because I got a lot out of it. I learned a lot that I didn't previously know about the Amish from day to day living to their religion. I must admit that the part I least enjoyed was the religious lessons, which there were a lot of, not being religious myself. It rather bugs me that people have to have a reason to do good things. The Amish, for example, in a simplification of the whole issue, forgive because they have to forgive others in order to be forgiven by God.

Thus, I discovered that while I still admire the Amish for many reasons, simplicity, a manor of carrying and presenting themselves, their willingness and ability to forgive, their work ethics being some of those, I don't necessarily admire their reasons, not being religious myself.

The topic of the shootings was well handled and the authors, "English" experts on Amish society, did a good job of respecting the people involved by not giving names of their sources when they didn't want their names published and by not seeking access to the children who were there that day. The book, at any rate, wasn't necessarily about the day itself, but about the reactions of the families and community.

I mostly enjoyed this well written and informative book. However, even understanding that the heavy religious instruction is an important part of the Amish story, it still interfered with my ultimate pleasure in this book. My rating is a 7.5.


  1. Meant to tell you that I like the book reviews.

    I think because I was raised in Jesus-saturated home, the biblical references don't annoy me as much, or rather they annoy me... but more like a bad smell than the solid thing it comes from. :)

    I probably would have trouble with this book because the older I get, the more stories like this just break my heart.

  2. I'm glad you like them. I was sure hoping someone would. :)

    Thanks, also for commenting when you're gimpy and all.

  3. Nice blog .. I never thought that you going to write about it:) thanks a lot

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