Facinating story of a rather odd woman who became the founder of the Shaker movement. Born in Manchester in 1736, Ann Lee was the illiterate daughter of one blacksmith and later became the wife of another. She worked as a cook in the local hospital but after the tragic death of all four of her children, she was consigned to a lunatic asylum. On her release, she became the leader of the 'Shaking Quakers' a local religious cult characterised by frenzied dancing and whirling, singing and talking in tongues. They believed that the end of the world had begun. In 1774 she and a little group of followers left for America. Although at first they lived in isolated poverty, eventually converts began to flock to their meetings. These converts attracted the attention of the authorities and they were persecuted.When Ann died, still in America, and aged only 48, she had begun the religious movement, known best now for its simple, refined form of furniture, which grew into a vital force before declining. A very interesting book.