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The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian…

The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers,… (original: 2020; edição: 2020)

de Miles Harvey (Autor)

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654312,696 (4.14)1
Título:The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch
Autores:Miles Harvey (Autor)
Informação:Little, Brown and Company (2020), Edition: Illustrated, 416 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:american history, 2020

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The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch de Miles Harvey (2020)


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Exibindo 4 de 4
True account of the life and times of James Jesse Strang, self-annointed King of Beaver Island (in this world and the next). Harvey's well-documented book carefully shows the rise of arguably America's greatest confidence man. Romance, gender-bending, murder, crime, political intrigue: this book has it all. Nonfiction writing at its best. ( )
  mjspear | Jan 13, 2021 |
My experience with Mormon splinter groups is limited to reading the "Latter-Day Saints Family" section of J. Gordon Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions (I take that back; I've also read Ruth Wariner's The Sound of Gravel). Nonetheless, it seems to me that their leaders are noted for their grandiosity. Such a one was James J. Strang, the founder and ruling figure of The Church of Latter Day Saints (Strangite). This former atheist established his church in the power vacuum left by the assassination of Joseph Smith in 1844. He persuaded his followers to move first to the tiny Wisconsin hamlet of Voree, then to inhospitable Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. Along the way, Strang gained many enemies, especially when he embraced polygamy after his initial rejection of it. The self-proclaimed prophet and "king" was murdered by two of his foes in 1856.

Author Miles Harvey fits Strang and his followers into the pre-Civil War era, when religious zeal was at a height and the end of the world was seen as being just around the corner. Even hapless U.S. President Millard Fillmore makes a cameo appearance. Harvey rejects the notion that Strang was a true believer, and instead is of the opinion that the "king" was nothing more than a confidence man (or "con man") from the beginning of his career as a prophet.

I had been looking forward to reading this book, but I found it an odd experience. The narrative, while informative and populated by a cast of colorful characters, dragged in places and didn’t really grip me until the end. The illustrations, which were interspersed throughout the text, seemed random. There are no maps of either Voree or Beaver Island. Still, this book will appeal to history buffs. ( )
  akblanchard | Aug 6, 2020 |
The story of Joseph Smith and his successor of leadership in the Church of Latter-Day Saints is the topic for this book. Focusing on James Jesse Strang, who has not publicly named, but assumes the leadership role is his. He claims Joseph Smith told him in a letter prior to Smith’s assassination. This is a book that reads like thriller fiction. He is all confidence man and Miles Harvey has brought this part of history to life. His lust for power was eventually destroyed, but it’s quite a story. ( )
  brangwinn | Jul 26, 2020 |
When we lived along Lake Michigan people would ask me if I knew about the King of Beaver Island. I had never heard of him. All I knew was that quilter Gwen Marston lived on Beaver Island. I had seen photos of her home and studio and the classes she held there. A lovely place.

Then along comes Miles Harvey's The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch, finally my chance to learn about this Michigan king.

I'll cut to the chase: Harvey's book is rollicking, page-turning, riotous good fun...and a sobering reminder of the American penchant to be taken in by quacks, con-men, and self-aggrandizing wannabes.

As a boy, J. J. Strang dreamed of the big achievements awaiting him--like marrying the girl Victoria who was destined to become queen of England. He wanted to be king.

Over his life, Strang reinvented himself, from teacher to lawyer, from atheist to the heir to Mormon founder Joseph Smith, from self-proclaimed king to pirate to legislator. And from husband to one wife to husband to a harem.

Harvey could have given us a somber, and perhaps tedious, exploration of Strang's place in American history, with insights into our current political craziness as well as Strang's antebellum social, economic, and political craziness.

OK; he did cover these themes. But with pizazz and ironic fun to create an entertaining narrative that makes one want to keep reading.

Chapters have lively titles and chapter quotations. Such as,"In which one charlatan is run out of town, only to be replaced by an even greater scoundrel", the following quote being a discussion between the Duke and the King from Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Yes, this is a book that Michiganders must read, but also those interested in how Americans gravitate to extremes during troubled times. Harvey's insights into human nature and society transcends time and place.

I was given a free ebook by the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased. ( )
  nancyadair | Mar 23, 2020 |
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