The author of Goodbye to Uncle Tom and The Road to Harper's Ferry has chosen a picaresque fictional form to tell the story of the Latter-Day Saints and the founder, Joseph Smith. An impressive amount of painstaking research has gone into what is an evident attempt to demonstrate that Smith was a paranoid character and that the early Mormons were far from the popular image of sturdy pioneers persecuted for their strange ways by a narrow-minded society. The story is told through the eyes of young Joe Pomeroy, an orphan taken over by Brother Smith, ostensibly to cure him of evil. Though evidently invented, young Joe is not incongruous, nor is his deliberately labored, idiomatic, mid-Western speech. Through him you see the Mormons in their overland trip via Illinois and Missouri, a rugged, riotous lot, sturdy in resistance to persecution by mobs armed with tar and feathers, but not averse to sampling their share of the temptations along the way. While the form is fictional, the interest is largely historical, and even the humorous slant will not save it from the disapproval of the Latter Day Saints.