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Publisher's Summary

Explore the Captivating Life of P. T. Barnum 

He wasn’t always the Great Showman. In fact, Phineas Taylor Barnum grew up in relative poverty with only his wits to help him along. When his father died, the 15-year-old boy entered the working world as a shopkeeper’s assistant. In leaps and bounds, he worked his way from assistant to shop owner, lottery office owner, and, eventually, entertainment promoter. The bulk of his career was focused on his beloved American Museum, where thousands of ticket holders flocked every day to look at the human oddities, stuffed animals, live whale, and American memorabilia. In the Barnum and Bailey Circus, we see the culmination of the renowned man’s life’s work.   

Some of the topics covered in this audiobook include:   

  • The Inn-Keeper’s Son
  • Lottery Mania
  • The Herald of Freedom
  • Leasing Joice Heth
  • Barnum’s American Museum
  • General Tom Thumb Goes to England
  • The Swedish Nightingale
  • "The Drunkard" at the Moral Lecture Room
  • Bankruptcy and Criticism
  • The Family Man
  • Publicist, Showman, Author
  • The Nancy Fish Era
  • The Greatest Show on Earth
  • More Politicking
  • The Blackface Minstrels
  • The Last Show
  • And much more!

Get the audiobook now to learn more about P. T. Barnum!

©2018 Captivating History (P)2018 Captivating History

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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greatest. show

and showman still,bittersweet goodbye to the circus,great story about a god man,lot of unknown facts

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A bit of a tough read.

Just put down the completed book and can't recommend enough this book! For anyone who enjoys tales of deception, trickery and an overall history of grifters in the US, this is a great read in a well laid out and engaging format.

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t may not be what you expect.

This is a decent book, but not quite what I was imagining. The title suggests a emphasis on fraud, but the balance is more on the development of laws and regulations intended to prevent fraud. A better summary of the book is this from the dust wrapper:

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An Important History.

This is the most fun I've had reading history in years. The stories are told with gusto. The book's design is delightful. Better yet, the history IS important. I discovered that PT Barnum is more than a circus guy. His innovations in the art of marketing, advertising, celebrity are still with us today. An amazing book, all the way around.

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Inspiring so for, for me.

A pithy biography of the showman that includes warts, flaws, and foibles and paints him as often callous and uncaring, but thoroughly human.

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You've come to the right place!

Barnum appeared to be a go-getter from day one. He was a young entrepreneur with extraordinary math skills and by the time he reached the age of seven he was earning so much money, his father asserted he purchase his own clothing. He was quietly duped into believing he would one day be wealthy because he owned Ivy Island, in reality a mucky swamp.

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On time and exactly what was described.

Excellent read, captures all the fun and excitement of Barnm. Everything was great, as usual.






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The way he lived, I love it.

It was precisely what I wanted, an outline of Barnum's life rather than a detailed standard biography desirable, numerous photographs and illustrations. Based upon the bibliography, it was thoroughly researched.

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The Amazing Barnum..

I found this audible version of Barnum's life more interesting but the autobiography a lot more fun. Barnun is very truthful in this book about himself and his frauds he did. A long book but fun and interesting.

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A fun to follow this man.

Folks, if you are interested in what life was like back in the 1850's '60's, you will find answers of your questions here. The hitch to the book is that P.T. is quite the talker and just goes on and on. The book also grasses off where the circus era takes over his business. Perfectly described as I Google this man and the stuff is same.

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  • Rowan Elian
  • 07-04-18

Just the right level for me to understand

I would have enjoyed knowing more about his family and more about some of friends he made along the way. He led a very interesting and full life!

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  • Jacey Leesha
  • 07-04-18

leadership is everything

There is so much more to P.T. Barnum than the Greatest Show on Earth. He did amazing and wonderful things for his community while still being a conman. I didn't care for this book because it really did just skim the surface. Still, it sparked in me a desire to know more about the man himself.

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  • Jazz
  • 07-04-18

Confidence Builder

I discovered that PT Barnum is more than a circus guy. His innovations in the art of marketing, advertising, celebrity are still with us today. An amazing book, all the way around!

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  • Dayni Vasili
  • 07-03-18

so far so good

I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating look into the life of the renowned showman P. T. Barnum. The Author provides an annotated bibliography.

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  • Zak
  • 07-03-18

wisdom is its own reward

be fascinated by the Real story behind the legend who created legends! Arrived almost as soon as I ordered it, and carefully wrapped! Peta doomed his amazing, enlightening, enthralling circus, but Barnum's legacy will always live on in story.... and song!

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  • Carter
  • 07-03-18

the path of success

it was exactly what I wanted - an overview of Barnum's life rather than a detailed standard biography plus numerous photographs and illustrations it was thoroughly researched.

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  • Benjamin
  • 07-03-18

History about Barnum

History about Barnum’s political life was interesting and he always seemed to bounce back from failures. Interesting man, interesting life.

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  • Cora
  • 07-03-18

Priceless advice

This is an excellent book. We listened to the audio version, and learned a great many interesting details about Barnum and his performers.

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  • Isla
  • 07-03-18

Still good

I learned so much about Barnum that I had not known. I was curious after watching the film "The Greatest Showman", which really turns out to be more fiction than fact. brings the man and his times truly alive.

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  • Aalyah Abbie
  • 07-03-18

short sweet and to the point

This was an interesting book. I always associated PT Barnum with the circus. However, this book doesn't talk a lot about that. This book talks a lot about the museum he first owned. He wasn't really the person I thought he was, for better or worse.