Freak Show Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and ↠ PDF/EPUB

From 1840 until 1940 freak shows by the hundreds crisscrossed the United States from the smallest towns to the largest cities exhibiting their casts of dwarfs giants Siamese twins bearded ladies savages snake charmers fire eaters and other oddities By today's standards such displays would be considered cruel and exploitative—the pornography of disability Yet for one hundred years the freak show was widely accepted as one of America's most popular forms of entertainment Robert Bogdan's fascinating social history brings to life the world of the freak show and explores the culture that nurtured and later abandoned it In uncovering this neglected chapter of show business he describes in detail the flimflam artistry behind the shows the promoters and the audiences and the gradual evolution of public opinion from awe to embarrassment Freaks were not born Bogdan reveals; they were manufactured by the amusement world usually with the active participation of the freaks themselves Many of the human curiosities found fame and fortune becoming the celebrities of their time until the ascent of professional medicine transformed them from marvels into pathological specimans

10 thoughts on “Freak Show Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit

  1. says:

    Freak Show Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit by Robert Bogdon University of Chicago Press 1988 7911 Author Robert Bogdon paints a vivid portrait of life inside the travelling shows that exhibited malformed humans The fat lady the sword swallower the Lobster Boy the bearded lady and on and on From 1850 until well into the twentieth century there was no stigma attached to the opportunity to gape at these unfortunate humans This is a fantastically researched volume on a fringe topic My rating 72510 finished 3717 I bought my PB copy in acceptable condition for 150 at McKay's PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

  2. says:

    I really liked this book because of the extensive research that was done to make the reader knowledgeable about the topic at hand While Mr Bogdan breaks it up into categories that can be followed if read the right way I feel that he should've just broken it up into manageable pieces; that way the reader isn't easily confused as I sometimes was I loved the fact that there were biographies and ephemera that you never knew about the freaks that you could buy at a time when money was scarce such as the Depression Era the men behind the curtains and the tricks of the trade that were employed to get the customers in Great for those who love the lore of the old sideshows and how they came to be and the people behind them Great reading

  3. says:

    As freaks sat on the platform most looked down on the audience with contempt not because they felt angry at being gawked at or being called freaks but simply because the amusement world looked down on 'rubes' in general Their contempt was that of insiders toward the uninitiated For those in the amusement world it was the sucker who was on the outside not the exhibitThoroughly decent historical exploration of the sideshow's carny roots this one operating from a culturalsociological perspective Although it covers a lot of the same ground found in similar works its system of inuiry and scads of anecdotes make it a worthwhile read

  4. says:

    It’s worth considering that although freak shows seemed to take advantage and supposedly exploited people with disabilities medical conditions and birth defects those “freaks” were largely showmen and in charge of their careers People who thought they were doing good by working to ban these types of shows as exploitive made it so the freaks couldn’t make a living Fast forward to now and we have freak shows that are socially acceptable because we call them “reality” TV shows Who’s exploiting whom?

  5. says:

    Really interesting perspective of the history of the 'Freak Show' Exploitation vs OpportunitiesTravelFinancial StabilityFamily Mentality It's definitely a niche topic but I am very glad I picked it up

  6. says:

    A lot of the information I read I knew about There was some information that I didn't know and was new and interesting to read aboutOnly complaint were how sources were cited It took away from the book because of how distracting it was

  7. says:

    Robert Bogdan is a Professor of Cultural Foundations of Education and Sociology and the Director of the Social Science Doctoral Program for the Center on Human Policy Law and Disability Studies at Syracuse University His book Freak Show Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit looks at the history and practice of the freak show through a social lensHe directly states his thesis early in the book Our reaction to freaks is not a function of some deep seated fear or some energy that they give off; it is rather the result of our socialization and of the way our social institutions managed these people's identities Freak shows are not about isolated individualsthey are about organizations and patterned relationships between them and us Freak is not a uality that belongs to the person on display It is something that we created a perspective a set of practices a social constructionFocusing on the heydey of Freak Shows 1840 1940 Bogdan covers the history of the presentation of freaks in conjunction with the circus dime museums carnivals world fairs the amusement industry in general What interested me most about the history was the transition of freaks from impressive curiosities to diseased dangers to society Freak shows drew large crowds were extremely popular attractions and in many cases freaks settled down into normal communities both at retirement and when on break from the show It wasn't until the early 1900s when doctors claimed freaks as the property of science that people started to find freaks pitiful Science both demystified their abnormalities and changed their uniueness into diseasesThe book is not structured chronologically so information is repeated chapter to chapter the history the people and the theory Rather than being annoyingly redundant this repetition actually enhanced the reading experience for me I feel like I learned this wayI will leave you with another restatement of his thesis because I think it is not only an important part of the book but a very true very important statement How we view people who are different has less to do with what they are physiologically than with who we are culturally

  8. says:

    For being one of the first researchers to investigate this topic Bogdan's work is a necessary starting point when you want to learn about the history of Freak Shows I didn't entirely agree with his assessment that Freak Shows were largely beneficial and not exploitative to performers and I found his eventual use of the term exhibit or various derogatory terms for performers despite their being common and accepted terms within Freak Show circles I still thought they were a little too offensive to use as casually as he did to be discomforting Still he did show that for SOME usually white less unusually shaped performers Freak Shows could provide a means for them to improve their social statuses

  9. says:

    This was an excellent read researched thoroughly and in depth I like how the author was objective and allowed us to cast our own judgments I'm sure for those who felt truly exploited by showing themselves there were just as many or who felt it was a decent way to earn a living and maintain a lifestyle I truly dislike it when people get outraged on the behalf of others There is that saying about taking a walk in their shoes

  10. says:

    Well researched insight into the oddities that defied normalcy from 1800s to about 1950s The rich treasure of folks on the tail ends of the bell curve are chronicled in this history of little people the tallest man conjoined twins the fat lady albinos and a variety of people who had no other means of employment but their differences