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Testa, Randy-Michael. After the Fire: The Destruction of the Lancaster County Amish. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1992.
Randy-Michael Testa's study of the Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania clearly implicates American capitalism in the destruction of rural landscapes and traditional communities. Over the past two decades, unchallenged economic development has transformed Lancaster County's farmland into tract housing and commercial centers that critically endanger Amish agrarianism. State and local marketing of the Lancaster faith community as a "cultural heritage" destination has accelerated this displacement and subjected the "plain people" to intrusive and voyeuristic tourism. This, according to Testa, is socially and morally unacceptable. Speaking as student, advocate, and friend of the Amish, he warns that "outside" American society must work towards a shared landscape based on understanding, accommodation, and mutual respect. This can only be achieved through a recognition of spirituality, collective ethics, and personal responsibility in socio-economic and political policy. Testa's personal journey from sympathetic observer to accepted "outsider" and activist provides an intimate understanding of how these concerns impact the interrelated Amish life ways and landscape. In conclusion, the author argues that while the Amish are not saints, their struggle to remain a people of faith in a traditional community is beyond dispute. Using methodology guided by self discovery, After the Fire explores a cultural and moral landscape inaccessible to most who study it. Ironically, what he finds among the "plain people" would not constitute scholarly revelation or a reminder of "how far we have strayed" to the Amish. It is simply how they live. [L. Kennedy]