Recommended Reading

Robert Wilson

Barnum – An American Life

Simon & Schuster

P.T. Barnum didn’t look like Hugh Jackman, more like Karl Malden with a little John C. Reilly. His real story is a lot more interesting—and almost as musical—than it’s been depicted. Wilson’s biography of the showbiz pioneer draws from letters, press releases, and business records, as well as Barnum’s own grain-of-salt autobiography.


I was surprised to learn that the circus, for which Barnum is chiefly known, was a business he entered into fairly late in life. He served as a state legislator and mayor of Bridgeport, espousing a form of “new urbanism” ahead of its time.

– Bruce Collier



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