P. T. Barnum's
career of showmanship and charlatanry was marked by a surprising
undercurrent of honesty and forthrightness. His exuberant
autobiography forms a happy combination of all those traits,
revealing the whole story of his world-famous hoaxes and
publicity stunts. Here is a pageant of nineteenth-century
America's gullibility and thirst for marvels, as told by the
master of revels himself.
storyteller, Barnum recalls his association with Tom Thumb, his
audience with Queen Victoria, and his trouble keeping Jenny
Lind's angelic image intact during a trying tour. He tells of
Jumbo, the most famous elephant in history, from the creature's
heroic arrival in America to its tragic death in a railroad
accident; of his attempts to transfer Shakespeare's house and
Madame Tussaud's Waxworks from England to New York; and of his
triumphant re-entry into public life after financial failure and
five disastrous fires had all but wiped him out.
tale of a man of boundless imagination and indomitable energy,
Barnum's autobiography embodies the spirit of America's most
exciting boom years.