The Last of the Wallendas

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9780882821160: The Last of the Wallendas

See the Wallenda's fights, affairs, divorces, bigamy, suicides, and insanity throughout the years.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

High-sighing story of the great high-wire artists, told by the granddaughter of legendary trapeze-artist Karl Wallenda and by journalist DeVincentis-Hayes (People, Redbook, etc.). Now that the Wallendas have dwindled down to a precious few, the remaining legally named Wallendas have wrangled with the author about her use of the Wallenda name in her high-wire act--for her mother was Wallenda's child by a woman he married after a Mexican divorce from his first wife, a divorce that the US failed to recognize. ``I walk the wire because it's in my blood,'' she says, and, with several thrilling moments, her story shows just how and why high-wire walking gets into your blood if you're a Wallenda. Leader of the pack was grandfather Karl, who insisted on topping himself with ever more dangerous acts. He seems to have been his own worst enemy, harboring one great dream: to skywalk Niagara Falls. But New York State doesn't allow high-wire acts without a net, so Karl invented the seven-man pyramid, in which six men form a pyramid with a woman sitting in a chair on top--an act so dangerous that no one else on earth dared do it. The Wallendas handled it safely for 16 years until, one day in Detroit, the strain overcame one member, leaving two dead and one paralyzed. But Karl survived and soon was back building the pyramid: Courage is all to the Wallendas. Fate caught up with him in Puerto Rico, however, when a poorly guyed wire and heavy winds toppled him from a skywalk between two tall buildings. The young author, meanwhile, had been taught by Karl and became the first woman skywalker, successfully walking the very wire that killed her grandfather. Circus lore--with suicides, bigamy, insanity and so on--fills in the family history. A strong, if downbeat, read. (Photographs) (First printing of 20,000) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Writing with DeVincentis-Hayes, who teaches English literature at the University of Maryland, the granddaughter of highwire walker Karl Wallenda tells the story of her family's generations-long involvement in circus acrobatics and her career as keeper of the heritage. Although that heritage has included private tragedies, family feuds, bitter divorces and numerous performance-related deaths and maimings, the inherited compulsion to dare the heights was so strong that Delilah chose to honor her grandfather, who perfected the "seven-man pyramid," by becoming a skywalker herself. She acknowledges that her childhood was confused, her apprenticeship harsh, yet she and her children carry on the tradition of highwire performance even now, when the circus's glory days are long past. Unfortunately, her tangled history of this extended family and its unique obsession unfolds in undistinguished prose that lacks the pungent ambience of circus life. 20,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Wallenda, Delilah; Hayes, Nan DeVincentis
Published by New Horizon Press
ISBN 10: 0882821164 ISBN 13: 9780882821160
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Wallenda, Delilah, Hayes, Nan DeVincenti
Published by New Horizon Press (1993)
ISBN 10: 0882821164 ISBN 13: 9780882821160
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