At the turn of the century, a young man named Frank Weston Sandford, proclaiming himself the fulfillment of certain Biblical prophecies, founded a movement called Shiloh, its central location on a hill in the town of Durham, Maine. The movement's purpose was sweeping and ultimate--to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ and the cataclysmic events which would usher it in. The enactment of this mission spanned twenty-five years, involving many hundreds of people. Sandford, an appealing and volatile leader, erected a complex of buildings in Durham, opened stations in major American cities, then set sail on the high seas in a racing schooner with a select group of followers. Their intention was to circle the globe for Christ. Instead, they headed for doom. As the movement expanded, so did its dangers. In the court trials that structure the story, Sandford was finally convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to prison. Shirley Nelson, whose parents grew up in this unusual society, tells Shiloh's powerful story with understanding and grace. She captures the inner dimensions of an intense religious culture and deals poignantly with the frightening phenomenon of one personality in control of many others. ""Shirley Nelson has written an important book . . . both as a piece of American history and as an investigation into human nature."" Frances FitzGerald, a Pulitzer Prize winner, author of Cities on a Hill ""This is a marvelous book. Its most obvious trait is that it reads like a novel. . . . On top of that, it represents a wonderful job of historical research."" George M. Marsden, author of Fundamentalism and American Culture ."" . . the complex narrative moves with a rich sense of immediacy toward the peculiarly American tragedy of its conclusion. You put it down feeling haunted and confused and moved by the fate of the Shiloh colony."" Frederick Buechner Shirley Nelson is the author of the award winning novel, The Last Year of the War. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her husband Rudy Nelson, also a writer. A recent collaboration is the documentary film, Precarious Peace: God and Guatemala.