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American Goliath : inspired by the true, incredible events surrounding the myste
Harvey Jacobs
Adult Fiction JACOBS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Based on a true story of American fraud and gullibility, this delightfully ribald and tongue-in-cheek account "Inspired by the True, Incredible Events Surrounding the Mysterious Marvel Known to the Astonished World as the Cardiff Giant" breathes life and magic into the P.T. Barnum era and a legendary hoax. In 1868, prodigal George Hull is exiled to his sister's home in Iowa after his father (patriarch of a family of Binghamton, N.Y., cigar makers) discovers him in bed with his sexy sister-in-law. In Iowa, George hears a wild-eyed preacher, claiming that Genesis actually took place in America, declare: "There were Giants in the earth in those days." When archeologists start digging up human fossils in rural New York near George's hapless cousin Stubby Newell's farm in Cardiff, George procures a massive slab of Iowa stone and hires a pair of hard-bitten tombstone sculptors to make the evidence that will confirm the preacher's claim. With the unwitting help of an itinerant Jewish dowser, well-diggers exhume the colossus and turn it into an overnight sensation. This arouses the competitive juices of P.T. Barnum and his sidekick, General Tom Thumb: suddenly the Giant has a twin. Embroidered with cameos of Boss Tweed, Edwin Booth, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt and others, this quaint tapestry is further enlivened with enough lewd misbehavior to put a smile on even the stoniest face. (Oct.) FYI: The Cardiff Giant is on permanent display at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Jacobs's entertaining new novel (following Beautiful Soup: A Novel for the 21st Century, Celadon, 1993) is inspired by real events. The Cardiff Giant was one of the greatest hoaxes of the previous century. Discovered in October 1869 on a farm in New York, the 10' tall, 3000-lb. statue was thought by "experts" to be the petrified remains of a prehistoric man but was shortly revealed to be the brainchild of George Hull, of Binghamton, New York, who had the Giant carved by stonemasons in Chicago. Thousands paid to look at the giant, which excited the envy even of P.T. Barnum. Jacobs juggles a large cast of both real (e.g., Tom Thumb, Cornelius Vanderbilt) and fictional characters, all of whom find their lives changed by their involvement with the Cardiff Giant. This is a very funny, rambunctiously raunchy novel that, at the same time, makes pointed comments about American attitudes during the last half of the 19th century. The relative dearth of recent humorous fiction should make this novel welcomed by most public library patrons.‘Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters George Hull
Scion of a wealthy family; family "black sheep".

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