When Charles S. Stratton was born in 1838, he seemed perfect in every
way. But then he stopped growing. At age four, though a happy and
mischievous child, he was just over two feet tall and weighed fifteen pounds—the exact size he had been as a seven-month-old baby. It was then that
P. T. Barnum persuaded Charley’s family to allow him to exhibit their
son in his museum and tour him around the world as a curiosity. Tom
Thumb, as Barnum dubbed him, was a natural performer. He became
enormously popular and wealthy, more so than any other performer before
him, in large part due to the marketing genius of Barnum.
spirited biography—the first on its subject—George Sullivan
recounts the fascinating adventures of the real Tom Thumb, and also
raises challenging questions about what constitutes exploitation—both
in the nineteenth century and today. Download and start listening now!