Ahead of journalist Michael Daly‘s 7 p.m. book reading and signing event tomorrow night at Brooklyn Heights Montessori School, Samantha Samel of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle caught up with the author of Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked-Tailed Elephant, P. T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison.

Published July 2 by Atlantic Monthly Press, the book offers a thoroughly researched look at the early days of U.S. circuses and the sad, symptomatic storyline of Topsy. Smuggled into the U.S. in 1877, the performing elephant ultimately met with a tragic, cruel end. Daly explains how he came to the topic:

“My editor suggested doing a murder case from earlier times. I Googled New York executions and came across the clip of Topsy being electrocuted in 1903.”

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