It wasn’t always about fights over animal rights and Cirque du Something or Other. The American circus has been around almost since the birth of the republic, and in the space of little more than two centuries it’s seen more changes than a Ringling showgirl has sequins. But the one thing that sets American circuses apart from their European counterparts is size. In this country we liked them big almost from the get-go. Now the art form has a book to match its grandeur: The American Circus, an extraordinary collection of vintage photographs and essays by experts on everything from pachyderms to parades. Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please!