The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy
The acclaimed author of A Prayer for the Dying brings all his narrative gifts to bear on this gripping account of tragedy and heroism-the great Hartford circus fire of 1944.Halfway through a midsummer afternoon performance, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus's big top caught fire. The... show more
The acclaimed author of A Prayer for the Dying brings all his narrative gifts to bear on this gripping account of tragedy and heroism-the great Hartford circus fire of 1944.Halfway through a midsummer afternoon performance, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus's big top caught fire. The tent had been waterproofed with a mixture of paraffin and gasoline; in seconds it was burning out of control, and more than 8,000 people were trapped inside. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of survivors, O'Nan skillfully re-creates the horrific events and illuminates the psychological oddities of human behavior under stress: the mad scramble for the exits; the hero who tossed dozens of children to safety before being trampled to death. Brilliantly constructed and exceptionally moving, The Circus Fire is history at its most compelling.
Publish date: June 12th 2001
Pages no: 384
Edition language: English
, Book Club
, American History
, United States
I have listened to almost four hours (total 11 hours 17 minutes) of Dick Hill's narration of this audiobook. It is unbelievably gruesome. Four hours focused upon the description of maimed, burned and dead bodies, human bodies. Not one circus animal was killed. Now I have had it. That's enough. It is...
Wow... What a great book. I had never heard about this story before and I was really happy I picked it up. Now I want to read about other circus stories!. O'Nan does an excellent job of setting the story, telling what happened, and then mopping it up afterwards. The only reason is it didn't get five...
As has been noted, this is an incredibly detailed account of the 1944 Ringling fire. I've been reading a lot of historic fire accounts recently (Coconut Grove, Triangle Factory), a lineup that has to include the story of dozens of happy children who burned to death at the circus. The one thing that ...
Although the circus industry had not been immune to fires — one in Cleveland had killed several animals — the largest of the shows, P. T. Barnum, could brag that no one had lost a life because of a fire. There had been several close calls, however. Another fire had burned the big top, the canvas cat...