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The greatest show on earth: The history and legacy of the circus
During its heyday, the American circus was the largest show-biz industry the world had ever seen. From the
mid-1800s to mid-1900s, traveling American circuses performed for audiences of up to 14,000 per show and crisscrossed
the country on 20,000 miles of railroad in one season alone. The spectacle of death-defying daredevils and strapping
super-heroes gripped the American imagination, outshining theater, comedy, and minstrel shows of the day, and ultimately
paving the way for film and television. The circus offered young Americans the dream of adventure and reinvention.
This book brings to life the grit and glamour of the circus phenomenon. Images include photographic gems by early circus
photographers Frederick Whitman Glasier and Edward Kelty, many of the earliest color photographs ever taken of the
circus from the 1940s and 1950s, iconic circus photographs by Mathew Brady or Cornell Capa, and little-known circus
images by Stanley Kubrick and Charles and Ray Eames. For the first time, contemporary readers can experience the legend
of the American circus in all its glory. Text in English, French, and German