Synopses & Reviews
The Ringling Brothers began their business under the most modest of circumstances and through hard work, business savvy, and some luck created the largest, most famous circus in the world. They became wealthy men, one 50 cent admission ticket at a time.
Ringlingville USA chronicles the brothers' journey from immigrant poverty to enduring glory as the kings of the circus world. The Ringlings and their circus were last studied in depth over four decades ago. Now, for the first time, the brothers' detailed financial records and personal correspondence are available to researchers. Jerry Apps weaves together that information with newspaper accounts, oral histories, colorful anecdotes, and stunning circus ephemera and photos, many never before been published, to illuminate the importance of the Ringlings' accomplishments. He describes how the Ringling Brothers confronted the challenges of taxation, war, economic pressure, changing technology, and personal sorrows to find their place in history. The brothers emerge as complex characters whose ambition, imagination, and pure hucksterism fueled the phenomenon that was the Ringling Brothers' Circus.
2005 Outstanding Academic Title from Choice Magazine
"Jerry Apps diligently searched the most extensive circus archives in America before writing about the Brothers Ringling. He covers the lives of the Ringlings and provides extensive examples of family correspondence. He details financial records of their circuses, proving their financial success. Best of all, Ringlingville USA is historically correct." (Fred Dr. Pfening Jr., Editor, Bandwagon: The Journal of the Circus Historical Society) "Congratulations to Jerry Apps for Ringlingville USA. This is an excellent historical story about my grandfather, Alf T. Ringling, and his brothers. Ringlingville brought bittersweet memories of my days with the circus, 1937 through 1941, and the lullaby of the wheels." (Paul T. Ringling)
"Congratulations to Jerry Apps for Ringlingville USA. This is an excellent historical story about my grandfather, Alf T. Ringling, and his brothers. Ringlingville brought bittersweet memories of my days with the circus, 1937 through 1941, and the lullaby of the wheels." - Paul T. Ringling
Ringlingville USA is the story of seven brothers who started with next to nothing and became the most famous circus family ever known. This is an extensively illustrated history with many never before published photos. This first history of the Ringling Circus in over fifty years recounts the hard work, business savvy, and entrepreneurship of the Ringling Brothers as they created the largest, most famous circus in the world. Author Jerry Apps presents a comprehensive history of the family business while at the same time recreating the sights and sounds of the circus at the turn of the century.
About the Author
Jerry Apps is the author of more than thirty-five books on Wisconsin and U.S. history. His writing has appeared in such publications as The Journal of American History, Wisconsin Trails, and the Wisconsin Magazine of History, and he is a regular columnist for Wisconsin Guide. He is especially known for his histories of rural and country life. Apps has won numerous awards for his writing from the Wisconsin Library Association, the Council for Wisconsin Writers, the Robert F. Gard Foundation, the Upper Midwest Booksellers Association, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. In 2001 he received the Barnes and Noble Pride of Wisconsin Award for Excellence in the Field of Regional Literature. He divides his time between his home in Madison and his farm, Roshara, near Wild Rose, Wisconsin.