This is a fun book. Ricky Jay is a professional magician and a historian of the medium (rimshot, please). Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women collects information about some of the most outstanding performers/freaks in the history of oddity. From porcine mathematician and people who set themselves on fire we go to mind-readers, daredevils, and performance farters. Lots of fun. My one regret is that since some of these performers lived so long ago, the information about them is scarce. Profiles of the later performers were more in-depth and hence more interesting. I really wanted to know more about the life and times of Toby, the Learned Pig.
With a big fat section of color plates and many black and white reproductions, this is a beautiful book that would make a great gift for that person with the weird sense of humour.