BARNUM: An American Life

BARNUM: An American Life - Book Talk and Signing with the Author, Robert Wilson

BARNUM: An American Life – Book Talk and Signing with the Author, Robert Wilson

As seen on CBS This Morning Saturday:

“Robert Wilson’s Barnum, the first full-dress biography in twenty years, eschews clichés for a more nuanced story…It is a life for our times, and the biography Barnum deserves.” The Wall Street Journal

Where:  Barnum Museum, 820 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT

When:  Sunday, September 22, 2019 – 2:00 PM

Barnum Museum Members free – Non-Members $5.00

Seating is limited so REGISTER to reserve your seat!

Barnum Re-Envisioning/Recovery Fund –

Nearly 125 years after his death, the name P. T. Barnum still inspires wonder. Robert Wilson’s vivid new biography captures the full genius, infamy, and allure of the ebullient showman. From birth to death, Phineas Taylor Barnum repeatedly reinvented himself. He learned as a young man how to wow crowds, and built a fortune that placed him among the first millionaires in the United States. He also suffered tragedy, bankruptcy, and fires that destroyed his life’s work, yet willed himself to rebuild and succeed again. As an entertainer, Barnum courted controversy time and again throughout his life—yet he was also a man of strong convictions, guided in his work not by a desire to deceive but an eagerness to thrill and bring joy to his audiences. He almost certainly never uttered the infamous line, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” instead taking pride in giving crowds their money’s worth and more.

Robert Wilson, editor of The American Scholar, tells a gripping story in Barnum: An American Life, one that’s imbued with the same buoyant spirit as the man himself. Wilson adeptly makes the case for P. T. Barnum’s place among the icons of American history, as a figure who represented, and indeed created, a distinctly American sense of optimism, industriousness, humor, and relentless energy. 

About the author:

Robert Wilson is the author of Mathew Brady: Portraits of a Nation and The Explorer King, a biography of Clarence King. He is the editor of The American Scholar, a former editor of Preservation, and the founding literary editor of Civilization (all three of which won National Magazine Awards during his tenure), a former book editor and columnist for USA Today, and a former editor at The Washington Post Book World. His essays, reviews, and fiction have appeared in numerous publications, including The American ScholarAmerican Short Fiction, The Atlantic MonthlyThe New RepublicSmithsonianThe Washington Post Magazine, and The Wilson Quarterly and on the op-ed, opinion, and book review pages of The Boston GlobeThe New York TimesUSA Today, and The Washington Post. He lives in Manassas, Virginia.