The Circus Fire

The Circus Fire

Book - 2000
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.
The acclaimed author of A Prayer for the Dying brings all his narrative gifts to bear on this gripping account of tragedy and heroism-the great Hartford circus fire of 1944.

Halfway through a midsummer afternoon performance, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus's big top caught fire. The tent had been waterproofed with a mixture of paraffin and gasoline; in seconds it was burning out of control, and more than 8,000 people were trapped inside. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of survivors, O'Nan skillfully re-creates the horrific events and illuminates the psychological oddities of human behavior under stress: the mad scramble for the exits; the hero who tossed dozens of children to safety before being trampled to death.

Brilliantly constructed and exceptionally moving, The Circus Fire is history at its most compelling.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Baker & Taylor
Chronicles the disastrous Hartford circus fire of 1944, a tragedy that claimed 167 lives and changed the history of the city

& Taylor

The acclaimed novelist turns to nonfiction, vividly chronicling the disastrous Hartford circus fire of 1944, a tragedy that claimed 167 lives and changed the history of the city. 35,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2000
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385496841
Branch Call Number: 974.63 ONAN
Characteristics: xiii, 370 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Apr 11, 2012

This was a truly horrifying tragedy. I had never realized that circus tents were treated with such flammable materials. The author has written an engrossing narrative that, while perhaps a bit graphic in parts, keeps one riveted.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at GL

To Top