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June 26 @ 7:30 pm

Battle for the Big Top: An Evening with Les Standiford


Books & Books
(305) 442-4408


June 26
7:30 pm


Sanctuary of the Arts
410 Andalusia Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134 United States
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Books & Books, Miami Book Fair and The Sanctuary of the Arts present…

An Evening with LES STANDIFORD


Battle for the Big Top: P.T. Barnum, James Bailey, John Ringling, and the

Death-Defying Saga of the American Circus 

(PublicAffairs, $28)

WHERE: Sanctuary of the Arts: 410 Andalusia Avenue, Coral Gables, FL, 33134



Books & Books is excited to be hosting our first in-person event since last year with our great friend Les Standiford! 

An RSVP is requested and required. We’ll be christening a brand-new arts space in the heart of Coral Gables, The Sanctuary of the Arts, a beautiful new campus devoted to the performing and literary arts and a gorgeous new theater located inside the old First Church of Christ Scientist, across the street from Coral Gables City Hall. We’ll be observing safety protocols and asking that everyone in attendance plan to wear a face mask.

Capacity for the theater is at 50% with no ADA seating available yet, so please be advised. Friends and family may sit in groups. We will be checking RSVPs at the door and we ask that you please don’t RSVP unless you are really planning to attend. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating Les’ new book together!

About the Book:

The untold story of three Golden Age titans and the confrontations, cutthroat business strategies, and eccentric personalities that built the Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey Circus

Millions have sat under the “big top,” watching as trapeze artists glide and clowns entertain, but few know the captivating stories behind the men whose creativity, ingenuity, and determination created one of our country’s most beloved pastimes.

In Battle for the Big Top, New York Times–bestselling author Les Standiford brings to life a remarkable era when three circus kings—James Bailey, P.T. Barnum, and John Ringling—all vied for control of the vastly profitable and influential American Circus. Ultimately, the rivalry of these three men resulted in the creation of an institution that would surpass all intentions and, for 147 years, hold a nation spellbound.

Filled with details of their ever-evolving showmanship, business acumen, and personal magnetism, this Ragtime-like narrative will delight and enchant circus-lovers and anyone fascinated by the American experience.

About the Author:

Les Standiford is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including Last Train to Paradise, Meet You in Hell, and Bringing Adam Home. His book, The Man Who Invented Christmas, was a New York Times ‘Editors’ Choice’ and was made into a feature film starring Christopher Plummer and Dan Stevens in 2018. He is a Professor of English and Founding Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University and holds a MA and PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah. He attended the US Air Force Academy and Columbia School of Law and is a former screenwriting fellow and graduate of the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He lives in Miami, Florida.

Ticket Information:

Tier 1: GENERAL ADMISSION: This ticket is FREE and open to the public and does NOT include a book.

Tier 2: GENERAL ADMISSION BOOK BUNDLE: This ticket is optional and includes free entry into the event as well as a copy of BATTLE FOR THE BIG TOP to be picked up at the event venue on the night of the event. Tax and fee included.

Les Standiford will be autographing books after the talk.