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Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir
by Saloma Miller Furlong
Michigan State University Press, 2011
Paper: 978-0-87013-994-9 | eISBN: 978-1-60917-204-6
Library of Congress Classification F500.M45F87 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 977.1/044


There are two ways to leave the Amish—one is through life and the other through death. When Saloma Miller Furlong’s father dies during her first semester at Smith College, she returns to the Amish community she had left twenty four years earlier to attend his funeral. Her journey home prompts a flood of memories. Now a mother with grown children of her own, Furlong recalls her painful childhood in a family defined by her father’s mental illness, her brother’s brutality, her mother’s frustration, and the austere traditions of the Amish—traditions Furlong struggled to accept for years before making the difficult decision to leave the community. In this personal and moving memoir, Furlong traces the genesis of her desire for freedom and education and chronicles her conflicted quest for independence. Eloquently told, Why I Left the Amish is a revealing portrait of life within—and without—this frequently misunderstood community.

Saloma Miller Furlong was born and raised in an Amish community in Ohio, which she left in her quest for freedom and a formal education. She graduated from Smith College in 2007, and was Department Coordinator for Amherst College Department of German and the Program of European Studies until 2011.

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