A Century of Amana Life Echoes of Elise

Written by Jeremy H. Berger

Retail: $19.99
ISBN: 978-1572161221
Dimensions: 6x9 inches
Pages: 297

Nestled in the Iowa River valley of Eastern Iowa are the historic Amana Colonies. These seven villages display vestigial signs of one of the longest-lived communal societies in American history. The community’s historical roots can be traced from Germany, to New York, and finally to the newly developing state of Iowa. The members of the Amana Colonies sought a self-sustaining, secluded, and pious life. They established this reality in Iowa County.

This is a story of one of those members, Elise Katherine Leichsenring Berger. Childhood experiences, growing older, and entering the communal school system, making friends, dating, and following the development of her marriage and family are all central components in this book’s narrative. The reader will get a glimpse of the broader community dynamics through Elise’s personal story as they are intertwined with local, national, and world-wide historical events including the World Wars, Prohibition, and the ending of the communal system in 1932. The life of this centenarian documents the dramatic changes within the Amana Colonies from communal through modern times.

Drawn largely from personal recordings of Elise and other uncommon sources, Echoes of Elise provides unique insight into the daily life and experiences of a member within this intriguing community. These personal, universal experiences give the reader insight into the Amana’s history in a way unlike ever before. Listen to Elise, she has a story to tell…