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September 26, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

AFTER THE FIRE: The Destruction of the Lancaster County Amish by Randy-Michael Testa, illustrated by Susie Riehl (University Press of New England: $12.95; 187 pp.). Testa lived with an Amish family for several months while working on his doctoral thesis. As both an adopted family member and an outside observer, he entered the increasingly bitter conflict over development in Lancaster County that threatens to destroy a determinedly old-fashioned way of life--and turn some of the most productive farmland in America into yet another suburb. Testa's sympathies obviously lie with the Amish: "The picture the Amish of Lancaster County present and what it represents is one of order, symmetry and calm, of people who have a direct hand in their own affairs, who do their own work, who are responsible for the life around them--and each other." But he describes a battle that continues in other, more secular areas of the country, including California.

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