12 February 2011

Amish Grace by Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, & David Weaver-Zercher

I picked this book up as part of a church group reading program, but I must admit that I chose it because I truly have a fascination with Amish life and culture.  This book tackles the 2006 school shooting in the Nickel Mines Amish schoolhouse.  On 2 October 2006, gunman Charles Roberts took ten young Amish girls hostage and opened fire on them shortly before killing himself. Five of the young girls died that day.  The book deals with Amish forgiveness in the face of tragedy and the widespread media attention that their actions received.  The authors attempt to give a thorough examination of the motivations behind forgiveness, while revealing much about the culture of the Amish along the way.

The book gives a very thorough examination of Amish beliefs in regards to forgiveness.  While the examination started out very interesting, there were definitely parts that began to feel repetitive as the book continued on.  I found it, on the whole, a very informative book and an interesting read.  The interview with the gunman's mother at the end was very moving and probably one of my favorite parts of the book.  I was also pleased that the authors included an appendix section that gave a brief history of Anabaptist religions, the Amish, and their basic religious belief system and way of life.  As someone who passes Amish horse and buggies on a daily basis, it intrigues me to learn more about their way of life.

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