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Bridge’s August book club selection is ‘The King of Confidence’

august book club

Summer’s in full swing, and Bridge’s bi-monthly book club returns in August with a true but nearly unbelievable story of corruption, fraud and an assassination in Michigan. Bridge readers are invited to join this interactive discussion with author Miles Harvey about his book, “The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch.” 

In the summer of 1843, James Jesse Strang, a charismatic young lawyer and avowed atheist, vanished from a rural town in New York. Months later he reappeared on the Midwestern frontier and converted to a burgeoning religious movement known as Mormonism. In the wake of the murder of the sect's leader, Joseph Smith, Strang unveiled a letter purportedly from the prophet naming him successor, and persuaded hundreds of fellow converts to follow him to Beaver Island, Michigan, where he declared himself a divine king. 

“The King of Confidence” tells this fascinating but largely forgotten story. Centering his narrative on Strang's turbulent 12 years in power, Harvey shares the tale of a timeless American original: the Confidence Man.

Please bring your lunch and join Bridge Book Club for a discussion of the book on Zoom from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m on August 10. You’ll have an opportunity to submit questions for Harvey during the event.

To be invited to participate in this discussion, please complete this event registration form and we’ll email you a calendar invitation with the Zoom link to join.

Here’s our schedule

  • Book announced: July 7
  • First discussion questions on prologue-chapter 9 posted on Bridge book club closed Facebook group: July 22
  • Second discussion questions on chapters 10-18 posted on Bridge book club closed Facebook group: July 29
  • Third discussion questions on chapters 19-epilogue posted on Bridge book club closed Facebook group: August 5
  • Live Zoom discussion: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. August 10

How to get the book

For Bridge Club members, we will provide an e-version of the selected book as a membership benefit. If you’re not already a member, join today for as little as $1 and support our nonprofit newsroom. Members will be sent a link via email from membership & engagement director Amber DeLind to redeem their free book.

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For those who are not Bridge Club members, would like to borrow the book, or would prefer a physical copy, you have other options.

You can order “The King of Confidence” directly from the publisher, visit your local library or download it from a Michigan library system to an e-reader or smartphone via Libby. The book may also be available for order from local bookstores, some of whom offer curbside pickup. Call your local bookstore to inquire.

How to take part in the online discussion

To participate in weekly discussions of the book in the lead-up to our Zoom event, please join our closed Facebook group by clicking here. Bridge staff will approve your membership in this closed group. 

Over the next several weeks, we will post several discussion questions about sections of the book’s chapters and group members will be invited to interact with our team and with one another. See the box above for a schedule.

Participation in these weekly discussions is not required to participate in the Zoom discussion.

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