The astonishing story of James Strang—a religious rebel who became a figure of curiosity, sympathy, and murderous hatred.
James Strang was a lawyer, a newspaper editor, and a failed politician, before he found his true calling as a self-declared Mormon prophet. Following the shocking murder of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, Strang lost a power struggle to Brigham Young. He went on to form a dissident sect and build a personal theocracy on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan.
Strang was one of the most colorful people of his time—a political boss who called himself a king, a cult leader who proclaimed himself a prophet, and a con man who tricked his way to power. At first, many of his followers shared his fierce opposition to polygamy. By the time of his death, however, Strang had five wives, four of them pregnant.
This compelling historical narrative delivers a remarkable tale of gothic drama and high tragedy, full of sex, violence, pride, fanaticism, and conspiracy.
John J. Miller—“one of the best literary journalists in the country” according to the Chronicle of Higher Education—is the author of several books, including The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football and The First Assassin, a thriller set during the Civil War. He runs the journalism program at Hillsdale College and writes for National Review and the Wall Street Journal. He lives on a dirt road in rural Michigan.
Cover design by Adil Dara.