By Marc Hartzman
A desirable investigate the historical past of the yankee sideshow and its performers. study what is actual, what is pretend, and what is simply downright strange. you might have most likely heard of Tom Thumb. The Elephant guy. Chang and Eng, the unique Siamese twins. yet what approximately Eli Bowen, the legless acrobat? Myrtle Corbin, the four-legged lady? Or Prince Randian, the human torso? these types of and extra have been stars in the course of the heyday of the yank sideshow, from 1840 to 1950. American Sideshow chronicles the lives of actually outstanding performers, reading those courageous and remarkable curiosities, not only as sideshow sights, yet as humans, delving into the lives they led and the way they have been in a position to overcome their abnormalities. American Sideshow discusses the increase and fall of the unique sideshows and their next substitute through modern day self-made freaks. With the development of recent drugs, the actual abnormalities are disappearing, both via remedy or prevention; and, mockingly, those self same technological developments now give the opportunity to alter bodies at will. it truly is awesome how effortless it truly is to have your tongue forked, horns surgically implanted, or your earlobes got rid of. There also are modern day giants, fire-eaters, fire-breathers, sword-swallowers, glass-eaters, human blockheads, and, oh, a lot more. those interesting personalities are celebrated via intimate biographies paired with gorgeous images. nearly two hundred performers from the previous a hundred and sixty years are featured, giving readers a entire and infrequently staggering view of the heritage of the yank sideshow.
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Extra info for American sideshow: an encyclopedia of history's most wondrous and curiously strange performers
Working acts found a national stage on such programs as Guinness World Records: Primetime and 30 Seconds to Fame. Fox’s Man Vs. Beast pitted forty little people against an elephant in a contest of strength, and in a sequel organized four little people in a relay race against a seven-foot-tall camel. Ridiculous? Yes. Entertaining? Absolutely. Fox even pursued the reality dating show craze with The Littlest Groom, in which a diminutive bachelor was wooed by a group of both little and normal-size women.
1842 Barnum opens his American Museum, on New Year’s Day. Later promotes the Fejee Mermaid and discovers Charles Sherwood Stratton, aka Tom Thumb. 1849 With Tom Thumb’s father, Barnum launches the Great Asiatic Caravan, Museum and Menagerie. 1855 Barnum goes bankrupt after a bad business venture. 1857 Fire destroys Iranistan, Barnum’s Bridgeport, Connecticut, mansion. 1865 Fire destroys Barnum’s American Museum. 1868 Fire strikes again, at Barnum’s New American Museum. 1871 Barnum initiates his Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan and Circus.
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