Herald Press releases second installment of historical trilogy

9780836199093News release
May 27, 2015

Joseph’s Dilemma describes cultural tension during the French and Indian War

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—A new novel by Ervin Stutzman explores themes of love and faith as two cultures intersect.

Joseph’s Dilemma focuses on an oft-unexplored portion of history: the interaction between Amish settlers in Pennsylvania and the Delaware Indians during the brutal French and Indian War. Though fictional, the book is based on true events that occurred during the war, which ran from 1754 to 1763 along the eastern coast of North America from Virginia to Nova Scotia. Herald Press will release this second installment in the Return to Northkill series in mid-June.

In the book, Joseph, his father, Jacob, and his brother Christian are captured by Delaware Indians during the French and Indian War. While at first Joseph rejects the customs of his captors, he gradually begins to feel like an adopted part of the tribe rather than a prisoner.

As Joseph’s Amish heritage pulls him in one direction, a love interest within the tribe and a growing connection to the culture of the Delaware Indians pull him in another. When the British pressure the native people to give up their captives under threat of death, Joseph determines never to go back to his Amish community.

Joseph’s Dilemma presents the plights of the indigenous people and the immigrants next to one other. Through Joseph’s eyes, the realities of settler atrocities committed against the Native Americans come into focus, as does the harm done against the immigrants.

Stutzman’s past work has been recognized for the thoroughness of its research, and advanced praise has earned Joseph’s Dilemma similar accolades.

“A great story about an Indian mother and her adopted Amish son who became an Indian,” noted C. Rusty Sherrick, an interpreter of Delaware history. “A young white man crossed the cultural barrier that separated two very different peoples. His eyes were opened and would never see the same again.”

Marta Perry, author of the Keepers of the Promise series, writes, “The author’s careful use of historical details gives the reader an interesting perspective, seeing events through the eyes of a young Amish teen captured by the Delaware Indians who becomes an adopted son.”


Joseph’s Dilemma connects to Jacob’s Choice, the first book in Stutzman’s Return to Northkill series published by Herald Press. These books based on true events tell the story of the Hochstetler family from whom many Swiss-German, Amish, and Mennonites are descended. While Joseph’s Dilemma contains allusions to events in the earlier novel, it stands alone in its narrative arc and focuses on Joseph’s, rather than Jacob’s, experiences with indigenous inhabitants.

Christian’s Hope, the third and final book in the Return to Northkill trilogy, is planned for release in Fall 2016. It follows Joseph’s brother Christian after his return to his Amish community. Many descendants of Jacob Hochstetler are found in North America and participate in various historical associations, including the Jacob Hochstetler Family Association, which meets every five years.

Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, was born into an Amish home in Kalona, Iowa, and currently resides in Harrisonburg, Virginia.ErvinStutzman2009

 Stutzman’s other Herald Press publications include Being God’s People; Tobias of the Amish; Emma, A Widow Among the AmishCreating Communities of the Kingdom, which he co-authored with David Shenk, and Welcome!

Joseph’s Dilemma will be available on June 17, 2015, for $14.99 USD/$17.24 CAD from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org, as well as at bookstores.

MennoMedia Staff
High resolution photos available.

For more information

Melodie Davis
News manager

Simply in Season: Tenth Anniversary Edition to be released in May

Studio Session Simply In Season-8147News Release
May 20, 2015

Popular cookbook adds new photography and menu guide

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—Amid increased consumer demand for local foods and growing concern about processed food products, Simply in Season: Tenth Anniversary Edition invites readers to celebrate the gifts of garden, farm, and market around their tables.

The new edition of Simply in Season cookbook contains colorful photographs of seasonal dishes and an expanded fruit and vegetable guide that outlines every step of care for produce once it is out of the garden, from storage to preparation. Accompanying these descriptions are some identifying characteristics, nutrition facts, and selection guidelines for each fruit or vegetable.

Written by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert, the cookbook will be released in late May and is part of the World Community Cookbook series published by Herald Press in cooperation with Mennonite Central Committee.

“Many excellent cookbooks have come along in support of the local food revolution, but there is still not a better one than this,” says Steven L. Hopp, coauthor of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle with his spouse, Barbara Kingsolver.

SIScover2015Originally published in 2005, the book has over 141,000 copies in print. Readers will still find the accessible recipes of the previous edition, along with stories that provide insight into the world of sustainability.

Menu suggestions frame each of the seasonally based chapters in this new edition, including a weeknight menu for quick preparation, a weekend menu for entertaining, and a vegetarian menu. In addition, qualifying recipes are now labelled as gluten-free or vegetarian for quicker identification.

While some parts of the cookbook have changed, the components of Simply in Season that first won a spot on kitchen shelves remain. The recipes are accompanied by anecdotes on such topics as sustainability and gardening practices. A recipe like Pork Apricot Skillet, for instance, includes information about how different farming conditions and diets affect animals. Another short piece looks at which fruits are easiest to grow at home.

The connection between food, people, and God is a central theme to Simply in Season. Studio Session Simply In Season-9809The cookbook is full of advice and suggestions. Graham Kerr, of The Galloping Gourmet, notes: “What you read here comes from a voice that is pastoral, not judgmental . . . expect to be lovingly challenged in your decision to eat what is fresh and in season.”

Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert coauthored the book, with help from submissions from all over North America. Lind is a nutritional consultant and dietician, and helped found a Christian retreat center called Mountain Retreat. She works as a market gardener in West Virginia. Hockman-Wert lives in Corvallis, Oregon, where she works as a journalist and is an avid farmers’ market shopper. Both authors show commitment to Simply in Season’s mission of sustainable, healthful food in their daily lives. The book was originally commissioned by Mennonite Central Committee, with the MCC portion of royalties helping nourish people around the world.

Catherine Walthers, author of Raising the Salad Bar and Greens, Glorious Greens, appreciates the book’s organization and style of recipes. She names it “an essential kitchen companion for all of us who love to get our food from our own backyard, local CSA, or farmers’ market—and always need new ideas. This is a book I will turn to over and over again. [Lind and Hockman-Wert have] put the recipes in the most organized, easy-to-use cookbook I’ve seen.”

Green Living Ottawa says of the book, “I’ve tried a few cookbooks that were advertised as ‘seasonal,’ but the only one to live up to its cover blurb has been Simply in Season.”

Studio Session Simply In Season-8016Simply in Season: Tenth Anniversary Edition hardcover/spiral edition is available for $24.99 USD from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org and at local bookstores.

High resolution photos available upon request.

For more information on press release:
Melodie Davis

Who are the Hutterites?

9780836199468News Release
May 13, 2015

New book reveals authentic look into Hutterite colony
Hutterite Diaries to be released by Herald Press in mid-May

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—Since modern North Americans are often groomed toward individualism, an authentic window into a communal life is becoming rarer and more valuable to society.

In a new book, Hutterite Diaries: Wisdom from My Prairie Community, author Linda Maendel provides such a window. She describes the daily goings-on of her Hutterite colony, or bruderhof, revealing a life of sharing and Christian community. She makes what could be foreign and strange intimate and familiar through her storytelling.

Herald Press will release Hutterite Diaries in mid-May. The book is the newest addition to the Plainspoken series, a series dedicated to showing what authentic Anabaptist life looks like in a variety of contexts. Hutterite Diaries is a collection of memories and anecdotes with occasional notes on the history of Hutterites, all based on Maendel’s experiences in her own colony.

ch 7

Linda Maendel staffing a table at a fundraiser for a local hospice/palliative care organization.

Readers will find stories about Hutterite beliefs and daily life that not only explain who the Hutterites of Maendel’s colony are, but that allow readers to experience Christian community vicariously. She shares stories that bring readers closer to an authentic Hutterite experience, such as all the mothers of a colony going on an annual three-day trip together to get the children’s Christmas presents.

While Maendel’s stories teach and share about a Hutterite colony, they also provide lessons about all of humanity. She draws readers into a world of autumn harvests, Mother’s Day baking, and workshop fires. In each vignette, community life is essential. The most striking example of this in Maendel’s colony is how the members share possessions communally, as followers of Jesus did in Acts 2. Hutterites share possessions to break down the boundary between theology and social interactions, according to Maendel.

Maendel has been writing about her experiences for a long time, and only now has collected her pieces into a larger publication. In addition to writing, Maendel teaches at Elm River Colony, the Hutterite community of which she is a part, located near Winnipeg, Manitoba.

When asked about her commitment to writing, Maendel responded, “I’ve felt for a long time that it’s important for Hutterites to write their own stories, and not enough of us are doing it. It’s also my hope that my book will encourage other Hutterites to write and publish their work.” Maendel blogs at hutt-writevoice.blogspot.com.

While other writers have focused on Hutterite life in their writings, Maendel’s perspective from within the colony and knowledge of the differences between individual Hutterite communities affects the stories she tells. “It seems some writers make general statements about Hutterites, without realizing what may be true for one colony may not be true for many others,” Maendel says. She offers several examples of how communities might differ, like decisions concerning education and healthcare. “There are very few books available where the author is Hutterite,” she adds.


Author Linda Maendel

“I applaud Linda Maendel for giving us a unique firsthand account of her life on a Hutterite colony,” says Mary-Ann Kirby, author of I Am Hutterite. “It’s wonderful to see Hutterite writers emerge and take their place in the mainstream!”

Suzanne Woods Fisher, author of Amish Peace, notes that Hutterite Diaries is “a wonderful collection of true stories and insights, written by a thoughtful woman who loves the life she’s been given.”

Hutterite Diaries: Wisdom from My Prairie Community provides a useful glimpse into a Hutterite colony. It is available for $12.99 USD and $14.94 CAD from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org, and local bookstores.

—Ben Mast

High resolution photos available upon request.