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Johnny Mast
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Breakaway Amish: Growing Up with the Bergholz Beard Cutters

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  15 reviews
"I am the grandson of Bishop Sam Mullet, who was arrested for the Amish beard-cutting attacks. This is my story."

Beard-cutting attacks on Amish people in the middle of the night. Five incidents. Nine victims. How could members of a Christian tradition known for peace and forgiveness enact such violence? What could make members of one Amish group turn against other Amish? I
Published July 1st 2016 by Herald Press (VA)
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Saloma Miller
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Breakaway Amish" by Johnny Mast with Shawn Smucker tells the inside story of the Amish in Bergholz, Ohio, who cut the hair and beards of other Amish people from the perspective of Johnny being Sam Mullet’s grandson — at one time one of Mullet’s favored grandsons. I do not know the role that Johnny’s co-writer, Shawn Smucker, had in the writing of this book, but I think he did an excellent job. The writing is riveting, and he preserved Johnny’s voice beautifully.

The story opens with Johnny takin
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, reviewed
Forgive me, I live in a cave. Which means that I missed the, presumably, sensationalized coverage of the Bergholz beard cutters.

Breakaway Amish, written by Johnny Mast, is the real story behind the headlines. His grandfather, Sam Mullet, founded the Bergholz Amish community in rural Ohio. Their strict doctrine--no tractors, no phones, no indoor plumbing--attracted many families who were seeking a deeper connection to God, the land and to each other. Among the first were Sam's sons and daughters
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
It’s very well written. The author takes you through the trial and the events leading to it at the same time, but he does it so well you never lose the chronology of either. It drags you right into the action and you don’t mind a break to take a breath and understand what’s behind such bizarre charges as beard cutting. It’s not long, but Mast relates his experiences very clearly. He doesn’t bog down in trial details. It is very interesting.
Human nature doesn’t leave much room for hope does it?
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Im am from this area and this is a great account

10/10 recommend. This was such a good book and first hand account. It captures the mindset of southern Ohio well.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I think the most upsetting thing about reading this book at this particular point in US History is the number of times the author says 'but now maybe things would go back to normal." They didn't, and they wouldn't, and it is discouraging to see just how long it can take someone to realize that an abuse of power isn't an aberration - it will happen again and again and again, as long as the person in power is able to get away with it.

Apart from that, this is a surprisingly quick and engaging read.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before reading this book, I was unfamiliar with this case. I just wanted to read something Amish-ish since I spend so much time in Amishland, Ohio. What I particularly liked about this book was the fumbling nature of the writer, Johnny Mast, not a professional writer. It wasn't an instructional book. It was really the honest, confused, and simple reflections of a very aberrant Amish micro-community. Some bits of fog cleared for him along the way, and during the trial, and these moments intereste ...more
My knowledge of the Bergholz Beard Cutters was, "oh yeah, I remember reading about that on the news a few years back." I was hoping for a deeper understanding of the sect's beliefs and crimes. Didn't really get that. Why was Bergholz shunned by other Amish years before the beard cutting started? Dunno. Why was beard and hair cutting so devastating? Heck, why do Amish keep their hair and beards long in the first place? Never clarified. What crimes were they even convicted of? I'm gonna have to Go ...more
Melodie Davis
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author does a great job of telling this sad but important story, with the help of ghost writer Shawn Smucker ... in the days before Smucker was producing what seems like a fiction book each year. I loved this book though for the truth it tells.
Carrie Faith Taylor
Breakaway Amish was a very interesting book. I tend to drift toward true crime books more than other memoirs, and this one delivered in quality more than many of them do. Johnny Mast was both a victim and a perpetrator in the crimes that happened at Bergholz, so his insights into what happened in that cult-like community are unique and fascinating. And although my interest in true crime books seems at odds with my desire for a happy ending, this book was able to deliver a happy ending as well.

Jul 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received this book as an ARC from Netgally for my honest review.

This book was about the Bergholz Beard Cutters. This is a true story based on one man's account of what happened. Johnny Mast was the grandson of the leader (Sam Mullet) of this "cult" and how quickly this Amish sect split from everyone and everything and how Sam was able to control the people under his religious authority. Sam then in revenge had his followers cutting the hair and beards of his own people and people outside of his
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
I received this book free for agreeing to review it.

I grew up near the Holmes County, Ohio, and its nearby vicinity's Amish peoples. We still visit regularly. When the news story broke that this book is based upon, my family were all dismayed.
How can it be that Amish turned violent to Amish?
We've always known Amish to be a peaceful, peace filled, non-confrontational, non-violent people.
The story tells of several families that moved to a fertile area between Mt. Hope, OH, and Pittsburgh, PA. Mos
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Breakaway Amish" by Johnny Mast is a memoir about the author growing up in the Amish community called Bergholz that became famous for the beard cutting assault case. I had heard of the beard cutting incident but did not know much about it. This book was very interesting and gave me more understanding of the case. There was so much more to the story than the newspapers released. What is interesting is that the author is the grandson son of the leader of the group. It is not a positive look on th ...more
Ruth Conrad
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author does a good job telling about his life in the Bergholz community of breakaway Amish. I still can't understand the strange events that Mast experienced, but he does his best to explain the strangeness. ...more
Liz Kauffman
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amish Cutting off beards and hair

I bought the book on Kindle and read it today, I can't believe how horrible they treat each other!
Sam the Bishop who is a dictator made some men sleep in chicken coops and horse stalls to punish them. He kicked his Wife out of the house and had a baby with his Grandsons Wife! Even while he is in prison he controls the people, he married his Daughter and her Husband in prison.
That is a cult 100%
I am glad his Grandson Johnny testified against him in court and got
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amish, netgalley
I usually like to stay in the world of fiction when I read, but it's hard to believe that what went on in this community wasn't fiction. I was torn on what to rate this work -- I really liked it, so that's 4 stars but it's all so amazing, that's 5 stars, that Johnny Mast was willing to tell the story of his family. I sided with amazing.

You really have to read this one to believe it. We heard the news reports but hearing the inside story and how an entire community can be manipulated is somethin
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