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Release: Immediate

New UI Press book chronicles 'diary' of Amish life

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The diary of an Old Order Amish woman is the heart of a new book from the University of Iowa Press that provides an unusually deep understanding of a way of life often hidden from the modern world.

In "Sarah's Seasons: An Amish Diary and Conversation," author Martha Moore Davis chronicles the daily routines of a woman, identified as "Sarah Fisher," on her farm near Kalona, Iowa and explores the unexpected connections between an 18th century way of life and the approaching 21st century.

With the words, "Have you ever kept a diary?" Moore began a friendship with Sarah Fisher and set out on a journey that gave her an opportunity to reflect on the pace and materialism of those who live in mainstream culture, or the "English," as the Amish call them.

Not only did Sarah acknowledge that she kept a diary, she invited Moore to read it. The brief notations, recorded on a calendar throughout 1976 and 1977, reveal an ongoing account of her daily routine and reflect a life filled with what Moore calls "look-easy tasks" undertaken without the conveniences of electricity, phones, or automobiles.

For Sarah Fisher, her diary is a record. "A diary can settle a question, a disagreement," she tells Moore. "You look back and see what took place. That's history.

The 200 pages and 25 photos chronicle the two women's conversations, shared recipes and reflections on Amish and modern culture and charts a friendship between two women who discover they have more in common than they thought.

Martha Moore Davis grew up on a farm outside Iowa City and taught in public and private schools for more than 15 years. She currently is associate professor of education and department chair at Grand View College in Des Moines. Davis continues her friendship with Sarah Fisher.

"Sarah's Seasons " is available at bookstores nationwide for $22.95 clothbound. The book can also be ordered from UI Press by calling (319) 384-3808 (for calls within Johnson County) or 1-800-235-2665 (outside Johnson County).

Information is also available at the UI Press website: