Amish Confidential: The Bishop’s Son Shatters the Silence, Chris Burkholder

Amish Confidential

The dis-oriented author grew up near Amish country. I don’t really know any Amish people but I have seen their wagons on the road and their farms. I was in my local library browsing the new non-fiction books, when I came across Chris Burkholder’s Amish Confidential.

Amish Confidential is Burkholder’s autobiographical narrative describing his childhood in an old order Amish community. Over time Burkholder pulls further and further away from the Amish and his father, a powerful Amish Bishop.

I found this to be a deeply disturbing book.

On October 2nd, I watched in horror along with the rest of the nation as details unfolded in the schoolhouse shooting of ten Amish girls in Pennsylvania. I also watched as the Amish extended forgiveness and compassion to the family of Charles Roberts, the shooter. Like most Americans, I have always had an idyllic view of the Amish.  I have viewed them as quaint and anachronistic, a throwback to an earlier time. I have admired Amish craftsmanship in woodworking and quilts.

Burkholder’s book shattered all of this. Burkholder paints a sordid tale of child abuse, incest and  bestiality. He describes animal cruelty and abuse including wanton killing of innocent animals. I would have written off Burkholder as simply an isolated malcontent had I not also seen a recent 20/20 segment on the dark side of the Amish community. Having  no personal contact with the Amish, I have no idea which view of Amish life is correct. I suspect that as usual the truth is somewhere in the middle.

As for the book, Burkholder is not a polished writer. The book is difficult to read not just because of the content but because of Burkholder’s rambling style. Even the narrative is unsatisfying, the book jacket says that Burkholder is married, owns a construction company and has a family — the story ends when Burkholder leaves the Amish community and does not begin to discuss his transition to the world of the English (the Amish refer to outsiders as English).

After reading this book I have no idea what the truth is.

Amish Confidential gets 2 of 5 dis-oriented smileys  ;-) ;-) ;-( ;-( ;-(

Purchase Amish Confidential  from Amazon.com.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. I to found this to be a deeply disturbing book.
    And it has most certainly changed the way I look upon the Amish. As I have been thru the Amish area in Arthur, IL and seen the horse and buggies going down the road and have been to the Amish homes to buy pumpkins in October. I have always admired how they live without electricity, their homemade clothes and foods and their hard work. I would have never ever imagined the kind of life as was stated in the book.
    The brain washing, the cruelty to children and animals. So sad. If there is all of this children and animal cruelty in the Amish Communities then the laws need apply to them as well.

  2. I used to be Amish too, and while I have not read the book, I have spoke to Chris and run the website at AmishConfidential.com, but I also make youtube videos about my people if anyone is interested…
    BTW did you realise that your post is indexed in google for Amish Confidential under my own site’s link?

  3. I know do some Amish and when I read this book of Chris Burkholder’s it was quite apparent to me that he is the one with the problems. He killed chickens for the pure thrill and enjoyment of it! As a young child nonetheless! Then, tells stories of all these allegedly horrible people. He is the freak, not the Amish. In every culture there are deviants; the Amish are no different. But, this time, it is Chris who seems like a deviant liar.

  4. This book is accurate. You’re blinded by the image. The Amish are criminal because of the way they treat their animals, their women and children. I’ve bought horses from the Amish and every single one of them need 1-3 years of careful rehabilitation to gain the trust of a human – they are so defensive from the unfair punishment and cruel handling. Warren Jeffs was put in jail for life for his crimes and there are sects of Amish out there that would be GONE if all of the men were punished for the crimes you and I would be punished for. America needs to WAKE UP and stop allowing it.

  5. Hello~ I have had many close relationships with Amish families including several from the Kahoka, MO. community. I have NEVER seen behavior as described in this book. I’m not saying that he was never abused I believe firmly that the Amish much like the English do have families that both sexually and physically abuse their children. The one thing we all need to realize before judgement is that Amish people are just like us, they’re human. They have the same worries for their children as we do, they simply go about their lives in a different way. Just as they have families that are abusive they have many many more that aren’t. It was reported that the State of Missouri investigated over 100,000 cases of child abuse last year I wonder if they were Amish, “English”, Mexican, African, Asian or just plain human.

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