Award-winning journalist Vickie Cleverley Speek was not looking for the Mormons during the summer of 1991. She was looking for basket-making materials, and the nearest shop was in Burlington, Wisconsin, at the corner of Highway 36 and Mormon Road. Surprised to find evidence of Mormons in Wisconsin, she took Mormon Road that day. It led to the community of Voree and to the beginning of a fifteen-year odyssey that would result in yet another book about James Jesse Strang, self-proclaimed successor to Joseph Smith.
Several biographies about Strang were already in print in 1991, including Milo M. Quaife’s seminal history The Kingdom of Saint James: A Narrative of the Mormons (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1930); O. W. Riegel’s Crown of Glory: The Life of James J. Strang, Moses of the Mormons (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1935); Doyle C. Fitzpatrick’s partisan The King Strang Story: A Vindication of James J. Strang, the Beaver Island Mormon King (Lansing, Mich.: National Heritage, 1970); and Roger Van Noord’s King of Beaver Island: The Life and Assassination of James Jesse Strang (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988).