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The Circus: 1870s–1950s

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The greatest show on earth: The birth of American popular culture For a hundred years, the American circus was the largest show-biz industry the world had ever seen. During the heyday of the American circus from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s, traveling circuses performed for audiences of up to 12,000-14,000 per show, employed as many as 1,600 men and women, and crisscrossed t ...more
Hardcover, 670 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Taschen
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Average rating 4.53  · 
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Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
10 stars! A million stars! All the stars in the sky! 5 lbs of glitter, grit, and glory from the American circus tradition! Text in English, French or German! Best replacement TV ever!
This was a very BIG and HEAVY beautiful book about the CIRCUS!!

Now I'm not all for the animal torture and stuff part of the circus, NOT even the killer clowns, but this was an insightful history book of everything you could know about the circus from 1870-1950's. :)
Ashley the Magnificent™
One of my favorite books. Pages and pages of old circus ads and posters, as well as mucho info on the different circuses (circii?) from the time. Great reference. BIG book! Found it at B&N on clearance! ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't think it's fair to say I've read it (because the words are impossibly tiny and the background too much colourful) but I don't think this book is meant to be read but to be lived through its amazing pictures.

It truly feels like you're travelling across time and space, looking at the people in the pictures and wondering how their life at the circus was like, how their lifes turned out to be after it: are they remembered? Were they proud of what they accomplished? Were their families proud
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't "read" so much as look at a lot of pictures and illustrations next to German text.
Andra Daniliuc
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great image collection!
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible oversize book of reprints of amazing posters and photographs of circuses and its people from 1840-1950. The articles are printed in four languages. In the early circus days, there was no highway billboard space or television. So many of these posters were "sniped" in cities in advance of the circus coming to town.
I borrowed by copy from the local library which had to special order ot. They kept it behind the counter. When I checked it out all the librarians wanted to weigh
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
5 stars! 10 stars! All the stars in the sky! This book is simply amazing. Sure sure, it doesn't exactly get into the downside of circus life, sticking to a very romanticized picture of it. But any drawbacks that the writing has is more than made up for with the literally hundreds of photographs taken from the late 1800's into the 1950's. Some of the pictures are absolutely hypnotic. If you have any interest in circus life or old timey photography, I simply cannot recommend this book enough.
Nov 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"A Silver Trapeze" by Alice Schertle

A silver trapeze of my own: I dream of it nightly.
A slim silver bar at the end of a rope I seize
and am lifted, carried, I'm flying above the ground lightly.
A silver trapeze

Down and around and up on the crest of a breeze
I swoop, I soar through a cloud, hesitate slightly,
then loop the loop like a pinwheel and hang from my knees.

Up through space I race on a bar shining brightly,
touch the tip of a star whenever I please,
kick off from the moon, sweep soundlessly do
Tamara Ko
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Even though it is simply called "The Circus: 1870s-1950s", one should pay attention to what is says on the inside: "The greatest show on earth: The birth of American popular culture" as this book shares only stories concerning the American circus (therefore, mostly Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey), even though it was blooming in other parts of the world at the same time.

A collector's item for sure, wondrous photos, important insight and many entertaining details - the only problem with it is
Vic Brisbin
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My review disappeared, so just listen: Buy this book! It's beautifully illustrated with colorful posters and behind the scenes photos. See the development of the American circus into the entertainment spectacular that came before TV, movies, and major sports events. I'll read and enjoy the book many times, each time imagining and dreaming of the Greatest Shows on Earth.
Mar 18, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: want
When this tall, gorgeous, 15-lb. wonder came back from an interlibrary loan patron, I squealed and *hugged it.* Not only is it chock full of fascinating posters and photos, all the text is in English, German, and French. I WANT ONE.
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't afford to buy a full edition of this book as it's too expensive. This one is great and affordable too! Love it! I also posted my full review on my blog: ...more
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Love this book! Huge collection of old circus photos & posters & other ephemera. The book is well researched and extremely interesting. So happy to have this in my library! ...more
Jan 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, coffe-table
Really interesting book documenting the 8 decades of circus life. Some of the photography was really interesting and some was kind of creepy..
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
(6.4.12) A gift from my beautiful wife. Bought at Powell's last weekend.
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing

....Ok nevermind- I got it for Christmas!!!!!!!! WHOOHOO!!! IT's anamazing collectors piece!
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: circus
Santa, please bring this.
Budhaditya Mazumdar
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Jul 19, 2016
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Nov 04, 2008
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Feb 26, 2019
St. John (Sinjin)
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Jul 07, 2012
Corry Lee
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Dec 26, 2012
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Jul 10, 2013
Steve Barber Jr.
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May 21, 2019
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Aug 05, 2012
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May 12, 2011
Karla Pineda
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Apr 18, 2014
Paul Corupe
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Aug 18, 2018
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