Recounts the bizarre story of James Jesse Strang's establishment of successive utopian communities at Voree, near Burlington, Wisconsin, and then at Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan in the 1850s. Sees this disciple of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, in the context of four elements of the national experience: 'the experimental spirit of the Founding Fathers, the utopianism of various nineteenth-century sects and socialist groups, and the wild enthusiasm of American revivalism, and certain central features of . . . Mormonism.'