Monday, July 10, 2017

Memoirs of a Sword-Swallower by Daniel Mannix, 230 pages

Memoirs of a Sword Swallower is Daniel P. Mannix's autobiography as a sword-swallower with a traveling sideshow, illustrated with photos from the 30s and 40s taken by the author. An example of Classic Americana, this book offers a portrayal of a vanished world of working-class performance artists who earned a living by their unique bodies and imaginations. Stars include the Fat Lady, the human beanpole, the Ostrich man who ate broken glass, and many more. The "tricks" behind eating fire and swallowing swords are explicated with clarity and candor. This book will appeal to all who speculate about the outer limits of pain, pleasure, and revulsion.
I've always been fascinated by freak shows and human oddities and it was interesting to read about this entry into the field towards the end of the heyday.

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