The Colossal P.T. Barnum Reader: Nothing Else Like it in the Universe

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University of Illinois Press, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 258 pages
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The P. T. Barnum Reader reveals the trailblazing American showman P. T. Barnum as, by turns, a moral reformer, a habitual hoaxer, an insightful critic, a savvy puffer, a master of images, a sparkling writer, a relentless provocateur, and an early advocate of family entertainments. Taken together, these selections paint a new and more complete portrait of this complex man than has ever been seen before. James W. Cook's The Colossal P. T. Barnum Reader is the largest collection of Barnum's works ever produced. Included are excerpts from his pseudo-autobiographical novel The Adventures of an Adventurer (1841), his European letters from 1844-46 informing readers of the New York Atlas of his regal reception overseas, and a large selection from his Ancient and Modern Humbugs of the World, Barnum's 1864-65 insider's look into the frauds of nineteenth-century American culture.

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The colossal P. T. Barnum reader: nothing else like it in the universe

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Editor Cook here assembles the best of master showman Barnum's assorted writings (serialized writings, promotions, etc.), along with numerous photos and illustrations. Great fun. Read full review

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About the author (2005)

James W. Cook is an associate professor of history and American culture at the University of Michigan. He is the author of The Arts of Deception: Playing with Fraud in the Age of Barnum.

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