The Polygamist King


the polygamist king john j millerMy new ebook publishes today: “The Polygamist King: A True Story of Murder, Love, and Exotic Faith in America.”

It’s a work of narrative history, telling the story of James Strang, a religious rebel who tried to build a personal theocracy on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. My main hope is to recount a good story from our past, though the tale also may hold lessons involving religious pluralism, shifting definitions of marriage, and the limits of tolerance. Best of all, it’s just $2.99–cheaper than a trip to Starbucks!

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There are 11 comments.

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  1. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart

    A polygamous kingdom on Beaver Island.


    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher

    Great Lakes Mormon Lumber Pirates!

    Whenever I try to tell people of the history of the Kingdom of Beaver Island, they look at me like I’m crazy.


    I get that the rest of the time too, though.

    • #2
  3. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.

    When I was researching my dumb story about Mackinac Island, I got lost on a Wikipedia rabbit trail about all the islands in the area. My parents are Yoopers and I have relatives scattered all over western Michigan, but I had never heard about Beaver Island’s curious history until about a month ago.

    Needless to say, I purchased your book as soon as I read your post. Thanks for writing it!

    • #3
  4. Merina Smith Inactive
    Merina Smith

    Yes–very interesting story about a strange chapter in history.  I can’t get it in hard copy?

    • #4
  5. John Miller Contributor
    John Miller

    Thanks for your interest. It’s a 17,000-word ebook — i.e., too long for a magazine article and too short for a full book. It also allows me to tell a good story at what I think is its proper length. And at just $2.99, it’s a low-risk purchase!

    • #5
  6. Derringdoo Inactive


    Who’s going to interview you on The Bookmonger?

    • #6
  7. MLH Inactive

    Downloading now!

    • #7
  8. BenMSYS Member

    Though a monogamist, I just broke a long standing agreement between my wife and me in favor of a title that includes a byword for infidelity. December book purchases are basically verboten as we are expected to pass our wants on to Santa. But $2.99? You have to download it. That’s the price of a decent hot dog. Looking forward to it.

    • #8
  9. N.M. Wiedemer Inactive
    N.M. Wiedemer

    Excellent John, I really enjoy this type of odd Americana.  I Picked it up and will read it soon. Looking forward to it! Love the podcast by the way. You’ve introduced so many great writers to me, thanks!

    • #9
  10. John Miller Contributor
    John Miller


    Who’s going to interview you on The Bookmonger?

    It was all worked out with a friend and fellow journalist — and then she had to go and give birth a couple of weeks early! So it’s still on the to-do list, but I hope we’ll have one ready before Christmas. Coming soon: Stanley Fish and Michael Novak.

    • #10
  11. Paula Lynn Johnson Inactive
    Paula Lynn Johnson

    Very cool! I will download and read, since I have a fondness for kooks and failed utopian communities.

    I live next to one: Ralston Castle in Hopewell NJ (and yup, there’s a connection to Ralston-Purina).  It was up for sale years back and hubs and I checked it out. Gorgeous old house but no corners or right angles — even in the hallways.  Edgerly, the cult-leader/builder thought that moving in right angles sapped your energy.

    • #11
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