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A cult classic and a work of remarkable scholarship, this title is an investigation into the inspired world of side shows, circuses, and singularly talented performers. Jay's unparalleled collection of books, posters, photographs, programs, broadsides, and data about unjustifiably forgotten entertainers all over the world made this unique book possible.
Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
What a fun and informative book! It is a look at a world with which I am completely unfamiliar, and it's fascinating. Ricky Jay explores unusual performers from the past few hundred years of (primarily) Western history, including magicians, mediums, animal performers, and those who in less politically correct times would have been called "freaks." Jay does a nice job of profiling the performers without giving away trade secrets. His personal collection of advertisements and photographs provides the illustrations for the book, and they are wonderful. I recommend this book for anyone looking for something a bit "different." It provides historical and cultural information you may not easily find elsewhere. The best surprise was how well-written the book was. I expected that, being an entertainer himself, Jay's talents may not have extended to writing. Fortunately, he is very literate and erudite, and makes his subject entertaining, interesting, and easy to understand. Lots of fun!
You can open this book at almost any page and be drawn immediately into the odd and unusual lives of entertainers from the medieval era to the twentieth century. As you read, you find yourself thinking that this person must surely be the most original personality in the book--until you turn the page. Ricky Jay clearly loves his subject, and has a writing style that's just as entertaining as his topic.