American Sideshow

Front Cover
Penguin, Sep 21, 2006 - Performing Arts - 304 pages
3 Reviews
A fascinating look into the history of the American sideshow and its performers. Learn what's real, what's fake, and what's just downright bizarre.

You've probably heard of Tom Thumb. The Elephant Man. Perhaps even Chang and Eng, the original Siamese twins. But what about Eli Bowen, the legless acrobat? Or Prince Randian, the human torso? These were just a few of the many stars that shone during the heyday of the American sideshow, from 1840 to 1950. American Sideshow chronicles the lives of truly amazing performers, examining these brave and extraordinary curiosities not just as sideshow performers but as people, delving into the lives they led and the ways they were able to triumph over and even benefit from their abnormalities.

American Sideshow discusses the rise and fall of the original sideshows and their subsequent replacement by today's self-made freaks. With the progress of modern medicine, technological advancements, and the wonderful world of body modification, abnormalities are being overcome, treated and even prevented: Siamese twins can now be separated, and in addition to this, tongues can be forked, horns surgically implanted, and earlobes removed. There are also, of course, modern-day giants, fire eaters, sword swallowers, glass eaters, human blockheads, and oh, so much more.

These fascinating personalities are celebrated through intimate biographies paired with stunning photographs. Approximately two hundred performers from the past one hundred and sixty years are featured, giving readers a comprehensive and sometimes astonishing look into the history of the American sideshow
 

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great gift

User Review  - pilot831 - Borders

my mother loves these kinds of books, and she was so excited to receive this for Christmas. She read most of it that night. She says it is one of the best books on carnies that she has read. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - madamejeanie - LibraryThing

This is one of those irresistible books (for me) about human oddities over the years and contains hundreds of case histories of "freaks" and sideshow attractions from the last century. Told without ... Read full review

Contents

PART ONE The GOLDEN
MARTIN VAN BUREN BATES and ANNA SWAN
CHANG and ENG BUNKER THE SIAMESE TWINS 18111874
CAPTAIN GEORGE CONSTENTENUS THE TATTOOED GREEK PRINCE
JACK
WILLIAM
NORA HLDEBRANDT Circa 1850s7
LONEL THE LIONFACED MAN 18901932
THE GREAT WALDO Circa 19202
WILLIAMS THE TURTLE BOY 1859? LUCIA
WILLIE POPEYE NGRAM 19322
ALZORIA LEWIS and JOHANNA DICKENS THE TURTLE GIRL and
ROBERT MELVIN THE MAN WITH TWO FACES 19201995
BABY RUTH PONTICO 19041941
SYLVIA PORTER THE ELEPHANTFOOT GIRL Born circa 1920s
GLBERT A REICHERT 19122

FANNY MILLS THE OHIO BIG FOOT GIRL 18601899
PAULINE MUSTERS 18761895
NOAH OFR THE UNION COUNTY GIANT 18361882
TOM THUMB 18381883
1975
BAILY THEPRETZEL MAN Born 1935 JANE
BARBARA
BLACKWELDER THETURTLE MAN 19231996 DICK
BURKHART THE ANATOMICAL WONDER and THEHUMAN BLOCKHEAD
SUSI THE ELEPHANTSKIN GRL 1904?
PART THREE The MODERN
SES CARNY Born 1980
THE GREAT FREDINI Born 1965
THE GREAT NIPPULINI Born 1974
HARLEYNEWMAN PROFESSIONAL LUNATIC Born 1951
DANIEL BROWNING SMITH THE RUBBER BOY Born 1979
EGRESS
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About the author (2006)

Marc Hartzman has been writing professionally since 1996. He is the author of Found on eBay: 101 Genuinely Bizarre Items from the World's Online Yard Sale.

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