Klavan On The Culture

The Polygamist King

My friend John J. Miller has been called “one of the best literary journalists in the country” by the prestigious Chronicle of Higher Education. I agree. His essays on genre writers like H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Aickman contain some of the most insightful and entertaining writing of its kind. His new Kindle Single, The Polygamist King: A True Story of Murder, Lust and Exotic Faith in America sounds pretty damned riveting too:

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.

I’m looking forward to reading it this weekend. You might consider doing the same.