CULTURE & ARTS
03/16/2012 12:35 pm ET Updated Mar 16, 2012

"The Circus. 1870s-1950s" Shows Glitz And Grime Of The American Circus (PHOTOS)

Come step right up to the old-fashioned magic of the American circus. In years past, tightrope walkers, trapeze swingers and fire eaters criss-crossed the country giving visitors a spectacular reminder that anything is possible -- even our wildest dreams.

Almost as dazzling as the tricks themselves are the retro posters that advertised the events, however. Taschen's new book, "The Circus. 1870s-1950s" combines photos of performers on and off stage with eye-popping images of the characters you'll encounter when visiting the spectacle; you'll flip through a history almost too colorful to be real. Now you can finally determine whether you really want to run away to the circus! (Some time-traveling is required.)

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