The riveting story of the most infamous American con man you've never heard of: James Strang, self-proclaimed diving king of heaven, earth, and and island in Lake Michigan until his assassination in 1856. In the summer of 1843 an ordinary man from a small town in New York vanished. He reappeared the following year a new man -- unremarkable by all accounts but for his exceptional charisma and a mysterious connection with a recently dead religious leader. Armed with a letter from Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, naming him divine successor, James Strang managed to convince droves of Mormons to follow him to Wisconsin and then to an island in Lake Michigan, where he declared himself divine king and even controlled a fourth of the state of Michigan. Years later, having run afoul of powerful enemies and disgruntled former followers, he became the target of a government-sanctioned assassination plot and was fatally shot in 1856, an event that was front-page news across the country. Centered on the fascinating but largely forgotten life of this mid-nineteenth-century con man and the turbulent twelve-year period of his rise and fall, The King of Confidence provides a closer look not only into the cauldron of mid-nineteenth-century America, but also into the concept of a character that frequently recurs in American culture even today: the Confidence Man. Miles Harvey marries the most well-loved traditions of historical narrative nonfiction -- adventure, bad behavior, and a little-known story -- to maximum effect in this compulsively readable account of one of America's boldest charlatans and the boisterous era in which he rose to power.