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"Robert Wilson's Barnum, the first full-dress biography in twenty years, eschews clichés for a more nuanced story ... It is a life for our times, and the biography Barnum deserves." - The Wall Street Journal

P. T. Barnum was the greatest showman the world has ever seen: the cocreator of the Barnum & Bailey Circus and the man who made worldwide sensations of Jumbo the Elephant, General Tom Thumb, and the "Swedish Nightingale," Jenny Lind. He was the champion of wonder, joy, trickery, and "humbug." He was, as Barnum argues, one of the most important Americans of the nineteenth century.

Nearly 125 years after his death, the name P. T. Barnum still inspires wonder. Robert Wilson's vivid new biography captures the full genius, infamy, and allure of the ebullient showman. From birth to death, Phineas Taylor Barnum repeatedly reinvented himself. He learned as a young man how to wow crowds, and built a fortune that placed him among the first millionaires in the United States. He also suffered tragedy, bankruptcy, and fires that destroyed his life's work, yet willed himself to rebuild and succeed again. As an entertainer, Barnum courted controversy time and again throughout his life - yet he was also a man of strong convictions, guided in his work not by a desire to deceive but an eagerness to thrill and bring joy to his audiences. He almost certainly never uttered the infamous line, "There's a sucker born every minute," instead taking pride in giving crowds their money's worth and more.

Robert Wilson, editor of The American Scholar, tells a gripping story in Barnum, one that's imbued with the same buoyant spirit as the man himself. Wilson adeptly makes the case for P. T. Barnum's place among the icons of American history, as a figure who represented, and indeed created, a distinctly American sense of optimism, industriousness, humor, and relentless energy.



About the Author

Robert Wilson

Robert Wilson has written thirteen novels including the Bruce Medway noir series set in West Africa and two Lisbon books with WW2 settings the first of which, A Small Death in Lisbon, won the CWA Gold Dagger in 1999 and the International Deutsche Krimi prize in 2003. He has written four psychological crime novels set in Seville, with his Spanish detective, Javier Falcón. Two of these books (The Blind Man of Seville and The Silent and the Damned) were filmed and broadcast on Sky Atlantic as ??Falcón?? in 2012. A film of the fourth Falcón book was released in Spain in 2014 under the title La Ignorancia de la Sangre. Capital Punishment, the first novel in his latest series of pure thrillers set in London and featuring kidnap consultant, Charles Boxer, was published in 2013 and was nominated for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. This was followed by You Will Never Find Me in 2014. The third book in the series, Stealing People, will be published in 2015. Robert Wilson loves to cook food from all over the world but especially Spanish, Portuguese, Indian and Thai. He also loves to walk with dogs?¦and people, too.



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