LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Circus Mania review - "The Greatest Show on Earth... in a book!"

The headline says it all!
Circus Mania reviewed in World's Fair

For a great start to the New Year, my thanks are due to showman’s newspaper World’s Fair for a fantastic review of Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book For Anyone Who Dreamed Of Running Away With The Circus! Here’s what they wrote:


The graft and passion of the circus industry won’t need highlighting to regular World’s Fair readers but those hungry for an all access pass into this extraordinary world should scribble Circus Mania at the top of their wishlist.

Circus couldn’t be a more applicable subject for Douglas McPherson’s first book as he hops from one chapter to the next like a constant flow of acts in a circus programme, kicking into touch any notion of a dying art form with every page.

With such a dense and rich history to pick from, McPherson delivers a concise yet elaborate summary of the circus industry featuring accurate accounts from those who have built their lives around the sawdust circle.

Eva Garcia
who's tragic death
Circus Mania
For all the childlike fantasy surrounding the idea of running away with the circus, just how arduous that life can be is laid out early on with the meeting of Eva Garcia, a wirewalker-cum-aerial silk performer who finishes with her boyfriend of nine years to travel the globe.

“It’s very tough, mentally and physically,” she reveals, “but I couldn’t give up my life, I’m still too young.” The following Thursday, Eva plummets 30ft to her death at Great Yarmouth’s Hippodrome.

Much of Circus Mania serves as a panoramic peek behind the velvet curtain, covering every imaginable aspect of what goes on behind the scenes. The incredible feats achieved by the acts during showtime could be considered a mre sideshow when viewed alongside the indomitable exuberance of Circus HilariousClive Webb (post quadruple heart bypass) or the freakish idiocy only a Circus of Horrors audition call could conjure.

BBC’s Big Top, Cirque du Soleil and the unavoidable matter of animal welfare are also explored. During a section surrounding Martin Lacey’s Great British Circus, McPherson bemoans the misunderstanding of persistent campaigners, notably detailing the ‘hypnotic grace’ with which Lacey’s elephants parade and how ‘it’s hard not to believe the tigers enjoy themselves.’

The otherworldly expedition, Douglas McPherson’s in-depth knowledge and obvious enthusiasm makes Circus Mania an unmissable read for anyone with the slightest tinge of circus curiosity.


If that review makes you want to read Circus Mania, click here to buy the new updated 2nd Edition from Amazon.


You may also like to consider a subscription to World’s Fair, the national weekly newspaper of the fairground and circus industry. It’s a great read and great to look at, stuffed as it is with full colour pictures of fairground rides, circuses, showman’s wagons and historic lorries and buses. UK subscriptions are £48 per year (£25 for six months) and can be ordered on 0161 683 8006. They’ll also be happy to supply back issues.