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Ringling: The Florida Years, 1911-1936 Paperback


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Ringling: The Florida Years, 1911-1936 + Ringlingville USA: The Stupendous Story of Seven Siblings and Their Stunning Circus Success
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 367 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida (October 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813012430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813012438
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Weeks, who lectures at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida, presents a serviceable account of one of the famous Ringling brothers, John Nicholas, from his move to Sarasota in 1911 until his death in 1936. The book begins with a comprehensive overview of Florida's economy in the early 20th century. Ringling wintered his circus in Sarasota and thus became involved with the development of the city during the 1920s. However, during the early years of the Depression, Ringling suffered from ill health and financial problems. After his death, his estate was in probate for many years, resulting in the near loss of his legacy to the state of Florida. This book provides an excellent description of Florida, economically and socially, during the boom and depression of the 1920s and 1930s and should appeal to general readers interested in economic and social history.
- H. Denyse Seaman, Baylor Univ. Law Lib., Waco, Tex.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

John Ringling's life would make a fine melodramatic movie. First of all he was a consummate showman, taking the Ringling family legacy to ever-higher achievements, but he was not content with the circus and made investments in real estate and art and built a fabulous home for his young second wife. Weeks shows Ringling's very considerable effects on Florida's Gulf Coast--Sarasota, particularly; Ringling ran his circus, bought and sold thousands of acres, developed the barrier islands, and established a first-rate art museum, his most lasting achievement. The Depression and ill health brought Ringling down; arguments among his creditors went on long after his death. An exemplary biography. John Mort --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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This book is what the docents read at the Ringling Museum and recommend to tourists.
M. Binch
Ringling is a good read if you are interested in the development of Southwest Florida or in the world of the rich and famous of the 1920s.
J Martin Jellinek
The writer also gives some insight to how John Ringling operated his business and his financial empire, which was like a roller coaster.
M. E. Gibson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bill Stockstill VINE VOICE on January 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a second generation Sarasotan so of course I have an interest in Ringling. My grandfather worked on the construction of the house and museum and my dad told me unbelievable tails of what Sarasota was like back when the Circus winter headquarters were located not far from town.

This book is a mesmerizing tale of how John Ringling grew up and with his brothers invented the Greatest Show on Earth. Upon choosing Sarasota to be his winter headquarters, he helped change a sleepy little fishing village into the wonderfully charming and culturally rich city Sarasota is today. Much of what Ringling did to shape Sarasota, sell real estate to northerners, lure the rich and famous to town, develop the barrier islands and build bridges to them, amass priceless works of historically important works of art (which he left to the people of Florida) are told in this book. It also tells the tragedies of Ringling's personal and business life.

Its a great read, a real page turner for those that love history, Sarasota, or the circus. Its published by University Press of Florida which should tell of the quality of the research.

Just how good a read is it? I devoured it, which is normal for me if it is a great book. But my wife, who grew up in New Jersey, who has only visited Sarasota to see my family, who falls asleep in movies and while reading more then 2 pages, SHE READ THE ENTIRE BOOK during a week while we were on vacation in Sarasota. My wife is not a reader. If its not something needed to be read for her career she doesn't read. This is the ONLY book my wife has found enjoying enough to read in the 13 years since I've known her and that includes her trying to read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil which is a page turner. Its a wonderful read and so far the best book I have found on Sarasota history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Gibson on October 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have personally toured the John Ringling Mansion (Estate) and museum, which was truly amazing. For example, his home is uniquely built seeking that the entire structure is made of poured cement and steel. What foresight he had in building his own museum to hold some of his most valuable pieces of art. In current value (today's dollars) some have stated that the Ringling art collect could exceed $350 million dollars ...wow !!

Overall, the book gives great details from John Ringling's life in traveling through Wisconsin, New York, and Europe; all the while entertaining millions. The writer also gives some insight to how John Ringling operated his business and his financial empire, which was like a roller coaster. John Ringling built up a wonderful empire, which during the 1920's was reported to have been one of top 10 wealthiest Americans. Tragically, though Ringling was a classic case of poor liquidity (i.e., asset rich though little or poor levels of hard cash reserves). At Ringling's death he had only $300 dollars cash with million of dollars locked-up in a magnificent art collection. Overall, I truly recommend reading this interesting book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J Martin Jellinek on April 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
When you hear the name Ringling, one thing immediately comes to mind - the Circus - bright, colorful, flamboyant, and entertaining. David Weeks' biography of John Ringling shows a portrait, not only of the man behind the circus, but also of a portrait of a city and region that he called home. Although John Ringling's dealings were not always ethical or legal, his vision greatly influenced the development and growth of Sarasota, especially during the boom and bust years of the 1920s and 1930s. Ringling was a complex man who was both very private and very public. Weeks delves into his subject with a respect for this complexity.

Ringling is a good read if you are interested in the development of Southwest Florida or in the world of the rich and famous of the 1920s.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fritz H. Riley Jr. on December 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was very informative and gave great insight into John Ringling, leader of the Ringling Brothers and the circus they built. The primary focus of the book was to cover John and his attempts over the years to develop the Sarasota area into a Florida resort community. It goes into great detail about land developments he and some of his brothers invested in and their efforts to lure northern businesses and investors to Florida. It's a good historical accounting of how the Sarasota area, including Longboat Key, was developed. This book is not about his exploits in creating and leading the Ringling Bros. Circus and how he later acquired the Barnum and Bailey Circus. In fact, I thought it was odd that as long and detailed a book it was, how little it contained about the circus and the fortune most of the brothers acquired from it's operations. It is a good book though and I would recommend it if you are interested in Florida history and want to learn about John Ringling, the man.
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