These new books take the circus, historical and contemporary, as their subject.
Balance: A Story of Faith, Family, and Life on the Line (Hachette) by Nik Wallenda, with David Ritz, is a memoir by the seventh-generation circus performer (and Bradenton resident), published before his successful walk across the gorge of the Little Colorado River.
Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love & Tragedy at the Circus (Crown) by Dean Jensen is the dual biography of two circus superstars of the early 20th century, acrobat Lillian Leitzel and her husband, trapeze artist Alfredo Codona, "the Brad and Angelina of the big top."
Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked-Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison (Atlantic Monthly Press) by Michael Daly is a history of the "golden age" of the circus wrapped up in the bizarre and gruesome tale of the electrocution of a famous elephant.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor