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The Circus Fire

by O'Nan, Stewart

  • ISBN: 9780385496841
  • ISBN10: 0385496842

The Circus Fire

by O'Nan, Stewart

  • List Price: $24.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books
  • Publish date: 01/01/2006
  • ISBN: 9780385496841
  • ISBN10: 0385496842
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Description: On July 6, 1944, in Hartford, Connecticut, the big top of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey caught fire during the middle of the afternoon performance. Seven thousand people were inside. The canvas of the big tent had been waterproofed with a mixture of paraffin and gasoline: in seconds, the big top was burning out of control. Bleacher seats were fronted by steel railings with narrow opening; the main exit near the fire was blocked by a caged chute in which leopards and lions, raged, maddened by the fire.

In re-creating the horrific events of one of America's cataclysmic civic tragedies, Stewart O'Nan has fashioned both an incomparably gripping narrative and a profound, measured glimpse into the extremes of human behavior under duress. In the madness of the inferno, some -- like animal trainer May Kovar and Bill Curlee (who tossed dozens of children to safety over the lion's chute before being trampled to death) -- would act with superhuman bravery. Others -- like the sailor who broke a woman's jaw to get past her -- would become beasts. The toll of the fire, and its circumstances, haunt Hartford to the present day -- the identity of one young victim, known only as Little Miss 1565, remains a mystery.

But it is the intense, detailed narrative -- before, after, and especially during the panic under the burning tent -- that will remain with readers long after they finish this exceptional book.

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8 vo. Dj w/unclipped price; illustrated end papers; 370 clean, unmarked pages/index; stamped "Montgomery County, Maryland on page edges.
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0385496842 Doubleday hardcover with dust jacket, 2000, 1st edition/1st
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Book. Signed by Author(s) A square solid tight unread copy. This copy has some light foxing to the top edge of the text block else fine.
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Signed Presentation Copy. 370pp Illus "A true story."
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