Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Tailor-King

The Tailor-King

The Rise and Fall of the Anabaptist Kingdom of Muenster

Anthony Arthur

Thomas Dunne Books




He was only a Dutch tailor's apprentice, but from 1534 to 1535, Jan van Leyden led a radical sect of persecuted Anabaptists to repeated triumphs over the combined powers of church and state. Revered by his followers as the new David, the charismatic young leader pronounced the northern German city of Muenster a new Zion and crowned himself king. He expropriated all private property, took sixteen wives (supposedly emulating the biblical patriarchs), and in a deadly reign of terror, executed all who opposed him. As the long siege of Muenster resulted in starvation, thousands fled Jan's deadly kingdom while others waited behind the double walls and moats for the apocalyptic final attack by the Prince-Bishop's hired armies, supported by all the rulers of Europe.

With the sudden rise to power of a compelling personality and the resulting violent threat to ordered society, Jan van Leyden's distant story strangely echoes the many tragedies of the twentieth century. More than just a fascinating human drama from the past, The Tailor-King also offers insight into our own troubled times.


And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand; and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.


Praise for The Tailor-King

"A useful case study in religious fanaticism and political totalitarianism. The many parallels that the author establishes between the Muenster Anabaptists and Waco, Tex.’s Branch Davidians as charismatic cults are chilling." - Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Anthony Arthur

Anthony Arthur is the author of numerous works of history, including Deliverance at Los Baños and Bushmaster. He was a Fulbright Scholar in 1980 and lives in Woodland Hills, California.

Anthony Arthur

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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