Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tom Thumb: the remarkable life of a man in miniature by George Sullivan

George Sullivan's biography of Charles S. Stratton, better known as Tom Thumb, is a portrait of one of America's first celebrities. It is a complementary title to Candace Fleming's award-winning The Great and Only Barnum: the Tremendous, Stupendous, Life of Showman P.T. Barnum, which not only included Tom Thumb, but also pointed out that Barnum can be credited with creating the concept of celebrity as we know it today.
Indeed, Barnum is a central figure in Sullivan's book, as Stratton/Thumb was always inclined to be the center of attention and figured in a number of Barnum's enterprises, from the American Museum to tours to the circus. Barnum also introduced Tom to Lavinia Warren Bump, who became his wife.
It is worth noting that the global tours undertaken by Tom and Lavinia would be arduous today: it is almost inconceivable to think of the difficulties they must have endured in the 1800s. The reader will at least be able to picture some of the amazing moments of their lives, from multiple meeting with the Queen of England to their constant tours due to the copious photographs reproduced in the text. This is a slice of life that will be completely foreign and utterly entrancing to readers.
This title was made available courtesy of Netgalley and will be released in February, 2011.

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