At its heyday, the American circus was the largest showbiz industry the world had ever seen. From the mid-1800s to mid-1900s, traveling circuses performed for audiences of up to 14,000 per show, employed as many as 1,600 men and women, and crisscrossed the country on 20,000 miles of railroad in one season alone. The spectacle of death-defying daredevils, strapping superheroes and scantily clad starlets, fearless animal trainers, and startling “freaks” gripped the American imagination, outshining theater, vaudeville, comedy, and minstrel shows.
This book sheds fresh light on the circus phenomenon. With photographic gems of early circus performers, as well as original posters, lithographs, sideshow banners and engravings from the 16th to 19th centuries illustrating the worldwide roots of the circus, readers are transported to a world of thrill and skill, grit and glamor. Highlights include iconic circus photographs by Mathew Brady, Cornell Capa, Walker Evans, Weegee, and Lisette Model, and little-known circus images by Stanley Kubrick and Charles and Ray Eames.
About the Author
Linda Granfield is a widely published author whose book Circus: An Album won six awards, including a place on the “Best of the Best” list by Chicago Public Library. Known for her clear and accessible writing, Granfield has penned many young adult publications as well as adult nonfiction books. She lives in Toronto, Canada.
Fred Dahlinger, Jr. from Baraboo, Wisconsin, is a circus historian and author of several books on the American circus.
TASCHEN editor Noel Daniel graduated from Princeton University and studied in Berlin on a Fulbright Scholarship. She earned a master’s degree in London and served as director of a photography art gallery before becoming a book editor. Her TASCHEN books to date include A Treasury of Wintertime Tales (2014), The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (2013), The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (2011), Magic 1400s–1950s (2009), and The Circus 1870s–1950s (2008).