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Curious Men

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  56 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Ever hear of the man who walked upside down? The guano mummy? The four-ton Chinese giant? The disembodied singing head of Anthropoglossos? Whenever a mysterious curiosity arrived in Victorian London, people knew there was one man who would always be at the scene: Frank Buckland. A barrel-chested surgeon chomping an ever-present cigar, Buckland was one of the most outsized ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 2nd 2008 by McSweeney's (first published 1880)
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Moira Fogarty
I enjoyed this little book of curiosities and strange tales from Victorian England. The writing was clever and engaging, and presented with educational footnotes and an unselfconscious pseudo-scientific approach to purported mermaids made of sewn-together fish and monkey parts, giants, two-headed Siamese twins, gadgets, skeletons, petrified top hats, and all manner of other freaks of nature and manufactured sideshow displays. Definite source material for Doctor Who and/or X-Files episodes, deliv ...more
Stephen Theaker
A diverting little book, but it's the point of view that's interesting, the what-they-don't-know, more than the actual subject matter, much of which is fairly pedestrian. If, like me, you didn't find the people here quite curious enough, I'd recommend the excellent Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions.

Buckland writes very well, though; you could often think yourself reading the opening of a story by Lovecraft, Poe or Conan Doyle. In fact, it's easy to imagine his "nondescript" as having inspired
...more
Kiowa
A fun time machine into 18th century England. Buckland plays Sherlock, as he uncovers the mysteries of freaks, curiosities, automotons, and the occasional mummified corpse. What drew me to this book is the editing by Paul Collins, still one of my favorite explorers into the world of "insignificant histories" (if you haven't read "Banvard's Folly", do so post haste!)
cassie
i didn't finish the book because i read to the last page, but because i was finished with the book. it's about as victorian as you can get - fascination with things i would give a paragraph here find a few pages.

kind of fun, but nothing to jump up and down about.
Darcy
Definitely "curious" - a nice look into Victorian England and the strange fascination (that remains today!) about all "abnormal" things and people. Really cool to see some of the "tricks of the trade" that were used in these traveling shows
Mark
Too short, but interesting. Paul Collins is the person you want to have in your book club, if you go for book clubs... Rec. if you like Ricky Jay's books.
Matt
This book is a charming look at some historical oddities of 19th-century England. I enjoyed reading about the strangeness...
Marissa
I kind of hate the whole McSweeney's thing, but this book was a fun, quick read about sideshow freaks back in the day.
Greg
True vignettes from a Victorian collector of human oddities. Built for me. Why not five stars? Too short.
Laura
An interesting little thing. Very good for a laugh or a gift.
Matt
A fun book. The language is fun.
Jason
Quaint and quirky.
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