King of Beaver Island

The Life and Assassination of James Jesse Strang

Review

Four months before the assassination of Joseph Smith, James J. Strang, formerly a professed atheist, hitched his wagon to Joseph Smith’s star. Since childhood, Strang had dreamed of greatness and power, even of becoming a king, and when he saw all Joseph Smith had done, the possibilities for himself “with his cunning and far superior education” (6) seemed exciting. The death of his daughter in 1843 made Strang realize that his own life span was limited and that his ambitions might never be realized. Joseph Smith’s career, however, rekindled his youthful dreams, and Joseph’s assassination gave him an opportunity to seize power.

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