Among the Amish

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Americans' impressions of the Amish tend to run hard and fast to stereotypes: wholesome horse-and-buggy barn-raisers or holier-than-thou cult of the past that cheats with chainsaws when you're not looking.

The beards and bonnets and old-fashioned ways are endlessly alluring, and confusing. Is this the simple life that would save the planet if we all suited up? A culture of repression and illusion behind a pastoral front?

Writer Joe Mackall has lived long with Ohio's Swartzentruber Amish, the world's most conservative, and brings us the real story.

This hour On Point: an outsider among the Amish.


Joe Mackall, author of "Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish," director of the creative writing program at Ashland University in Ohio, and a former staff writer for the Washington Post.

This program aired on August 23, 2007.

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Tom Ashbrook Former Host, On Point
Tom Ashbrook is an award-winning journalist and host of WBUR and NPR's On Point.



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