Guide The Rise of the American Circus, 1716–1899

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Jan 30, Phil Ford rated it really liked it.

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A thoroughly written documentation of how the circus came to be, starting from the European influences and all the way to P. Barnum, etc. This will be a book future researchers will refer to; it is has a LOT of detail, so much in fact that attempting to keep up with the list of names of act after act after act can become a little overwhelming or at least confusing.

Particularly in the first or so pages it lacks any engaging narrative, it feels almost like a cataloging of what was found in A thoroughly written documentation of how the circus came to be, starting from the European influences and all the way to P.


  • A Journal of the Plague Year.
  • The rise of the American circus, 1716-1899.;
  • Bestselling Series?
  • Kundrecensioner.

Particularly in the first or so pages it lacks any engaging narrative, it feels almost like a cataloging of what was found in various ephemera. Part of the consideration for the lack of approach-ability could be attributed to the scarcity of detail in the information of the menageries listed, and that may ward some more casual readers off. That is my suspicion anyway. After that initial hump, we get more biographical detail on the stand out acts that eventually grew into what we more commonly call the "circus".

A book of necessary compiled information, but not for everyone maybe expecting a "greatest show on earth" type feel. Michele rated it it was amazing Aug 03, Amy Christine rated it really liked it Feb 03, Jun 19, Annie rated it did not like it. This book seem very promising, I thought it would be a book in the vein of Stuart Thayer's Annals of the American Circus I think it wants very much to be Annals, so much so, that the two authors copied the format of that book.

I've attempted to read another McFarland published book recently, and was disappointed by its lack of depth. This one is sort of the opposite, all deep information, no comprehensive investigation using a breadth of valid circus sources.


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It's mostly a tr This book seem very promising, I thought it would be a book in the vein of Stuart Thayer's Annals of the American Circus It's mostly a trolling of newspaper entries with bad reproductions of microfilm to digital illustrations. Which makes sense when I see that McFarland requires authors to pay for their own illustrations, but I wonder how the database providers allowed digital copies of their content to make it into this book?

At any rate, what really convinced me that this book is not good quality research were two things: The sources. There are three good circus histories cited in the bibliography, good legitimate sources, but nothing recent.

American Circus Corby 2017 part 1

If this is supposed to be an academic book, please please please do not cite Wikipedia. McFarland claims to sell primarily to academia and libraries. I'm also frankly suspicious of the authors' knowledge. How do you go from those topics to a claim of a detailed historical, academic circus book? I'm sure this may surprise many people, but circus history is serious stuff, and a huge topic.

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You can't just sit down one day, read a bunch of old newspapers, and think you understand everything about the American circus. These two people have written and published 4 other books with McFarland, and only McFarland, which seems to publish upwards of titles a year, but claims to not be a vanity press and have an editorial process. I read a lot of circus books.


  1. J. E. Gessler.
  2. The Rise of the American Circus, 1716–1899.
  3. The Rise of the American Circus, 1716-1899;
  4. All Humans Are Hebrews;
  5. This one is one to skip. Deestarr rated it liked it Jun 04, Emily marked it as to-read Dec 07, McFarland added it Mar 13, Laina SpareTime added it Apr 01, Whitney marked it as to-read Jun 06, Heather marked it as to-read Oct 05, Becky Lord marked it as to-read Feb 15, Aji marked it as to-read Jul 07, Rashida marked it as to-read Jan 09, Zed Amadeo marked it as to-read Jan 09, Adela Setiawan marked it as to-read Apr 07, It was also somewhat repetitive in it's information.

    But the subject matter was interesting, as were some of the anecdotes relayed about the various characters.

    HANDY CIRCUS FAMILY - HANDY CIRCUS TROUPE

    Gradgrind, the schoolmaster in Dickens' novel Hard Times. Facts about the early history of the circus are, clearly, what S. Kotar and J. Gessler wanted The Rise of the American Circus, Kotar , J. To both young and old, the circus remains an icon of American entertainment, a wholesome pastime untouched by the passing years. But the modern circus, with its three rings, ringmaster, animals, and acrobats, is the product of nearly three hundred years of evolution.