From Lentini the three-legged man and Siamese twins to equipment caravans and big top architects, this captivating collection lifts the striped curtain to reveal the larger-than-life world of circuses, carnivals, and freak shows in post-World War II America. Copious never-before-seen photographs, in-depth historical research, and insightful interviews with former sideshow employees illustrate the development of the circus sideshow, the roles of key groups?the freaks, working acts, managers, talkers?and the importance of the grift.
A. W. Stencell owned and operated his own circus for 19 years and is a former president of the Circus Historical Society. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.
"A former circus owner chronicles the colourful history of sideshows. Full of photos from the author’s private collection and evocative slang such as “grifters’ and “lot lice,’ the book links exhibitions of freaks and curiosities past to today’s Body Worlds science shows and reality TV contests involving the ingestion of bugs." “Globe and Mail