The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T. Barnum

by Candace Fleming and Ray Fenwick

This biography of P. T. Barnum entertains and amazes, much like the man himself.... read more

This biography of P. T. Barnum entertains and amazes, much like the man himself. Barnum knew that most people wouldn’t mind being tricked by a clever hoax (or “humbugged”) as long as they were also entertained. Candace Fleming follows him from his Connecticut boyhood to his death at age 81, portraying a shrewd, resilient businessman who was repeatedly able to rise from crisis and disaster. While Barnum was the master of turning any opportunity to profit, he was not as successful at establishing good relationships with his family, whom he often put second to his work life and personal pleasures. At the same time, he provided generously for hundreds of his “Human Curiosities,” or as Barnum called them, “representatives of the wonderful,” some of whom he counted as close friends. This inviting narrative is generously illustrated with photographs, posters, broadsides, and illustrations, and sprinkled throughout with sidebars providing additional insight into the culture, people, and events of P. T. Barnum’s life. A thorough bibliography, lists of source notes and picture credits, and an index round out this engaging biography. (Ages 10–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010

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