Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, interviewed a woman who "escaped from the Amish." It's fascinating. Here's an excerpt:
What were the positives of growing up Amish?
-Growing up bilingual (Though I didn't become fluent in English until after I escaped and I was always very self-conscious about my command of the English language)
-The emphasis on the solidarity of the extended family unit
-The emphasis on being hospitable to strangers, helping those in need, whether Amish or "English" (anyone who's not Amish is "English," no matter what language or culture he/she represents)
-Building your own houses, growing your own food, sewing your own clothes
These experiences taught me self-reliance, self-preservation, and gave me the ability to relate to non-American familial cultures much better than I might otherwise.
The biggest negatives?
-The rape, incest and other sexual abuse that run rampant in the community
-Physical and verbal abuse in the name of discipline
-Women (and children) have no rights
-Religion–and all its associated fear and brainwashing–as a means of control (and an extremely effective means at that)