Pulse: 60 Second Critic: Nonfiction: Amish Grace

How Forgiveness Transcended Traged


Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy

By Donald B. Kraybill, ­Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-­Zercher (Jossey-Bass; $24.95)

In the days and weeks following the shooting of five Amish schoolgirls in Lancaster County a year ago, the tragedy was eclipsed by a more baffling ­narrative—the astonishing, and astonishingly swift, forgiveness by the Amish of the killer. Faced with the notorious Amish aversion to publicity, reporter after reporter turned to the authors, three professors who have studied the Anabaptists in depth, to answer one question: How could the Nickel Mines Amish so readily, so completely, forgive? While the text provides a detailed account of the tragedy, its beauty lies in its discovery of forgiveness as the crux of Amish culture. Never preachy or treacly, it suggests a larger meditation more than apt in our time, on a place where “religion was not used to justify rage and revenge, but to inspire goodness, forgiveness and grace.”