Standiford, Les

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Battle for the Big Top: P. T. Barnum, James Bailey, John Ringling, and the Death-Defying Saga of the American Circus

The three kingpins of the American circus are the men whose names became synonymous with this phenomenon; it’s well-worth learning their story through Standiford’s skillful cultural history.

Astrid Sees All

Standiford’s novel is worth reading for its dark and dazzling depiction of New York’s “last bohemia” and believable youthful recklessness and angst. But too many plot lines and an unconvincing, overstuffed climax result in a work that falls short.

Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles

This work might appeal to those interested in the American West, California, water rights, and biography. However, readers wanting a more balanced perspective should consider Mark Reisner's Cadillac Desert. [See Prepub Alert, 9/14/14.]

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