My birthplace, the city of Kitchener, Ontario, had much to do with the writing of this book. Founded by Mennonite bishop Benjamin Eby in the early 1800s, the city, with its doors always open to immigrants, provided me with my first contacts with the wider Anabaptist community: the Russian Mennonites, the Nazarener, the Hutterites, and others. Special recognition must be given to J. Winfield Fretz and Frank Epp, then of Conrad Grebel College, for spending time with me in my most impressionable years. The same and more must be said for Reinhold Konrath, then of Victoria Street, with his rare collection of Anabaptist books and documents, and for Reg Good, a friend.
My parents, Anson and Sarah Hoover, and great-uncle Menno Sauder of the Old Order Mennonite community north of the city greatly stimulated my desire to know about our past. So did my grandparents, Menno and Leah Hoover and our neighbourhood harness-maker, Matthias Martin, whom I visited innumerable times on foot, cutting across the back fields to his place along the creek.
I would thank Cornelius Krahn of North Newton, Kansas ( who gave us a box full of Anabaptist books as a Poltergeschenk when we stopped at his place on our wedding trip) and bishop Elmer D. Grove for their inspiration in historical research. I thank the following persons: Amos B. Hoover (in whose library I paged through original Anabaptist writings for the first time), David Bercot, Philip Yoder, John David Hoover, Elmo Stoll, Wayne Chesley, Keiner Barrantes and the rest who played a part in bringing this book to completion.
Claudia Schmiedel Pichardo, writing from Mexico City, München, or Graz added a special dimension to this project, and I am grateful to John D. Martin and Edsel Burdge for their work as editors, Elizabeth Myers Byler and Starla Goodwin for correcting the text, Conrad Sollenberger for its design, and to my wife Susan and our children for putting up with me during long hours of writing and review.
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