Meyer's portrait of the Amish would be more impressive if we didn't already know Naylor's intimate introduction to An Amish Family (1975). Meyer uses the routine of the hypothetical Beiler family to flesh out her discussions of the prohibitions against forming a ""yoke"" with the outside world (electricity, telephone, etc.), of Amish farming methods and how they are accommodated to, say, the mechanized dairy industry of today, of courtship and apostasy among the young and of the traditional role assigned to women. Actually it's very much the same ground covered by Naylor and both writers have depended heavily on Hostetler's well-known studies. But despite Meyer's clear-headed, direct approach she never makes us feel that we are actually inside the family. Perhaps the difference in distance is best indicated by Meyer's decision to use photographs (mostly with the subjects' backs turned to the camera) despite the Amish prohibition against them while Naylor's book is illustrated with drawings that are every bit as informative.