An engrossing book that brings vividly to life a fascinating era of American history, science, and entertainment populated with absorbing portraits of intriguing figures like Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and P.T. Barnum, and how their lives intersected. The book is also revealing of typical attitudes toward animal welfare, particularly the treatment of them in circuses and "scientific" experiments at the time. Those revelations caused a great deal of cringing and gasps of disgust on my part. Not for the faint-hearted.