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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

Stories: How Mennonites Came to Be

Stories: How Mennonites Came to Be - John D. Roth The writing in this book is as reader friendly as a history book can be and still be a credible source of information. The word "history" does not appear in the title presumably in an effort to appear more attractive to prospective readers. Avoidance of the word may also deflect some criticism from professional historians who may regard it to be "history light" with inadequate depth.

I haven't come up with a better title to replace the title "Stories," though that title doesn't seem all that descriptive of the contents. Many of the chapters and sections begin with a human interest story to grab the reader's attention prior to moving on to the historical narrative. But most of the book is an overview of Mennonite history starting with the first century Christian church, then covering the Reformation era and continuing on through to the Twenty-first Century.

This book provides an easy way to learn about Mennonite history while illuminating a small segment of history that is often overlooked by broader accounts of history. Presumably the readers most likely to be motivated to read this book will be Mennonites themselves. Nevertheless all readers can learn something from it, whether reading it as refresher course or learning the material for the first time.

I particularly appreciated the author's introductory and closing remarks that discussed the virtues of acquiring knowledge of the past. One of the best ways to know where we're headed is to know where we came from.