First published in 1979, The Second Coming is an experiment in the writing of popular history – a contribution to the history of the people who have no history and an exploration of some of the ideas, beliefs and ways of thinking of ordinary men and women in the late eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries. Millenarianism is a conceptual tool with which to explore some aspects of popular thought and culture. It is also seen as an ideology of social change and as a continuing tradition, traced from the end of the seventeenth century to the 1790s, and is shown to be embedded in folk culture.
Abundant in rich and lively descriptions of such colourful characters as Richard Brothers, Joanna Southcott, John Wroe, Zion Ward and Sir William Courtenay, as well as studies of the Shakers, early Mormons and Millerites, the result is a window into the world of ordinary people in the Age of Romanticism.
Part 1: The Millennium Tradition 1. The Hope of the Millennium 2. Prophets and Prophesying 3. Signs and Wonders Part 2: World’s Doom 4. Nephew of the Almighty 5. The Woman Clothed with the Sun 6. False Prophets Part 3: The Millennial Dawn 7. Peculiar Peoples 8. Through a Glass Darkly