The Circus Fire by Stewart O'Nan
A True Story

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

Descriptions that might seem gratuitously ugly at first—in one passage, some survivors claimed they'll never forget the sound of animals being burned alive, but none were—segue into poignant, humane accounts of a city in mourning. In the end, The Circus Fire is not only an indispensable history book, but a tribute to collective endurance.
-AV Club

Synopsis

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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Stewart O'Nan

See more books from this Author
STEWART O'NAN is the author of twelve previous novels, including Songs for the Missing, A Prayer for the Dying, and Snow Angels. In Faithful, he and Stephen King chronicled the 2004 Boston Red Sox. He was born, raised, and lives in Pittsburgh with his family.
 
Published December 10, 2008 by Anchor. 386 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography, Business & Economics, Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Circus Fire
All: 1 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 0

AV Club

Above average
Reviewed by Scott Tobias on Mar 29 2002

Descriptions that might seem gratuitously ugly at first—in one passage, some survivors claimed they'll never forget the sound of animals being burned alive, but none were—segue into poignant, humane accounts of a city in mourning. In the end, The Circus Fire is not only an indispensable history book, but a tribute to collective endurance.

Read Full Review of The Circus Fire: A True Story | See more reviews from AV Club

Reader Rating for The Circus Fire
84%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 118 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×