Sunday, April 18, 2021

Under the Big Top

Under the Big TopUnder the Big Top 
by Bruce Feiler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second Bruce Fieler book I have read and while the topic was VERY different from the first one (Walking the Bible) the tone was similar and I plan to read more from this author. 
I learned about this book on Strong Sense of Place (a podcast that you should definitely listen to if you can accept that your TBR list will grow with every episode). It was a fascinating, and very empathetic, inside look at a world I knew nothing about. Fieler joins the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus as a clown for the full run of the 1993 season. Mixed in with his experiences are stories about the people and animals he met and the history of the circus.
"When I decided to join a circus, I viewed it as a life on the road, as a way to discover the backyard of America from the back lot of a travelling neighborhood. After almost four months on the show I had begun to revise my view. While each stop along our nine-month route reflected the area around it, I found that I was encountering the true variety of American life not in the various communities that leavide near the tent, but in the one community that lived underneath it--the circus itself. With its two hundred employees from all corners of the globe, holding all manner of religious and political beliefs, the circus represented a true melting pot." (p.176)
If you want to learn about life in the circus at the end of the 20th century, this is your book. 


  1. Thanks so much for the share! -- I'm glad you're enjoying the podcast. How was 'Walking the Bible?'

    1. It was really interesting. I listened to it and it was a good audio experience too.


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