Hardback
October 9, 2005
9780813123585
English
424
photos
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.38 Inches (US)
1.9 Pounds (US)
$70.00 USD
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
October 9, 2005
9780813137377
English
424
photos
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$30.00 USD, £12.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
October 26, 2008
9780813191959
English
424
photos
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.13 Inches (US)
1.55 Pounds (US)
$30.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

Secrets of the Sideshows

The carnival sideshows of the past have left behind a fascinating legacy of mystery and intrigue. The secrets behind such daring feats as fire-eating and sword swallowing and bizarre exhibitions of human oddities as "Alligator Boys" and "Gorilla Girls" still remain, only grudgingly if ever given up by performers and carnival professionals. Working alongside the performers, Joe Nickell blows the lid off these mysteries of the midway. The author reveals the structure of the shows, specific methods behind the performances, and the showmen's tactics for recruiting performers and attracting crowds. He also traces the history of such spectacles, from ancient Egyptian magic and street fairs to the golden age of P.T. Barnum's sideshows. With revealing insight into the personal lives of the men and women billed as freaks, Nickell unfolds the captivating story of the midway show.

Reviews

"Using history, real carny language, stories from former sideshow workers and owners, and from Nickell's own archives, Secrets of the Sideshows is a wealth of information for circus fans or anyone who's wondered how those seemingly-impossible illusions are created."—Algona Upper Desmoines (IA), Brookings (SD) Register, Lake Country (WI), Marco I

"Using history, real carny language, stories from former sideshow workers and owners, and from Nickell's own archives, Secrets of the Sideshows is a wealth of information for circus fans or anyone who's wondered how those seemingly-impossible illusions are created."—Brookings (SD) Register

"Nickell offers first a history of sideshows . . . then presents a comprehensive analysis of sideshow performers, skills, and illusions. . . . Recommended."—Choice

"An illustrated book for large popular-culture collections. Recommended for all levels."—Choice

"To find out how it's done, and other carnival minutiae, browse Nickell's comprehensive Secrets of the Sideshows ."—Entertainment Weekly

"A widely researched and splendidly illustrated history of the bizarre world of the exhibited abnormal and the demonstrated impossible."—Foreword Magazine

"If there's a more incredibly thorough ­or more thoroughly incredible bookout there on the past, present and future of the midway, I don't know it. Blessed are all we rubes that Joe Nickell's Secrets of the Sideshows is outin the world."—James Taylor, author of James Taylor's Shocked and Amazed: On & Off theMidw

"A book that gives you the straight lowdown on the acts and the people behindthem. A clear-eyed look into a vanishing bit of Americana. Intriguing andunique."—Joe R. Lansdale, Edgar Award winning author of The Bottoms and Freezer Burn

"The author, lifting up the back flap of the tent show, reveals, informs, and presents a range of human oddities from the 'real' to the 'created.'"—Linking Ring

"Ever since I saw Penn and Teller 'eat' fire and pontificate on the circus sideshow, I have been curious to learn more about it, not only the history and culture of the sideshow, but the secrets themselves! Nickell delivers brilliantly."—Michael Shermer, author of Why People Believe Weird Things

"Simultaneously provides an insider's glimpse of that world on the skirts of the main event and an excursion into a vanishing feature of North American life."—PsycCritiques

"An enjoyable read. . . . Nickell has encyclopedic knowledge of sideshow history"—Roanoke (VA) Times

"Nickell takes us inside the world of fire-eaters, sword-swallowers, jugglers, snake-handlers, and magicians to explain the illusions and oddities we may have puzzled over but never fully understood."—Robert A. Baker, author of They Call It Hypnosis

"To be sure, he gives plenty of secrets away here, most of them open secrets, but the book works best as a tribute to the imagination of the performers and organizers of the exhibits which were meant to provoke and satisfy that admirable old human characteristic, curiosity. . . . If you want the lowdown on sideshows, step right up, ladies and gentlemen, Joe Nickell presents the best show on the midway."—Times of Acadiana

"An exciting experience of the mostly American phenomenon of carnys, sideshows, freaks, and carnivals."—UFO Aktuellt

"For an entertaining book on a rapidly fading culture that was once a thriving part of old America, be sure and pick up "The Secret of the Sideshows.""—Jarrid Deaton, The Floyd County Times

University Press of Kentucky

9780813123585 : secrets-of-the-sideshows-nickell
Hardback
424 Pages
$70.00 USD
9780813191959 : secrets-of-the-sideshows-nickell
Paperback / softback
424 Pages
$30.00 USD
9780813137377 : secrets-of-the-sideshows-nickell
Electronic book text
424 Pages
$30.00 USD

Other Titles by Joe Nickell

Ambrose Bierce is Missing

Joe Nickell
Jul 2014 - University Press of Kentucky
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Hoax

Edward Steers, Jr., foreword by Joe Nickell
Mar 2013 - University Press of Kentucky
$30.00 USD - Hardback

Real or Fake

Joe Nickell
Jun 2009 - University Press of Kentucky
$50.00 USD - Hardback