This is an original hardbound 1996 first edition of this book with original dustjacket having no rips or tears. Very good condition
Review-Silverman's engaging biography catalogs the life of Harry Houdini, born Ehrich Weiss, who made a career out of his capacity to amaze. Having developed conjuring skills and an ability to wriggle free of handcuffs, ropes and manacles, Houdini elaborated his tricks into theatrical set pieces that made him famous--stunts like escaping from a strait jacket while dangling head down from a skyscraper, or from a wooden packing crate submerged in water. Silverman's meticulously researched book reveals other sides to the great illusionist too. Houdini collected a library of books on magic, wrote books himself, exposed shyster psychics whose tricks he could easily match, and was a friend to Jack London, Sarah Bernhardt and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Publishers WeeklyThis lively biography of the great magician and escape artist Harry Houdini (1874-1926) benefits from the erudition and enthusiasm of Silverman, who won a Pulitzer for his The Life and Times of Cotton Mather. Silverman's account provides more detail than previous biographies about Houdini's early years, showing how Ehrich Weiss, a scrappy Jewish kid from Wisconsin, endured a grueling apprenticeship in vaudeville as an acrobat, magician and medicine-show shill to become the most famous performer of his age. Because Houdini was a notoriously private man, Silverman focuses on the magician's life as a touring artist. Regrettably, Houdini's most famous feats?the Milk-Can Escape, the Manacled Bridge Jump, the Chinese Water Torture Cell?aren't as riveting to read about, no matter how well described, as they must have been to witness; moreover, Silverman, as a former professional magician, feels obligated not to reveal how they were done. The narrative picks up in later chapters, however, as it relates Houdini's campaign against fraudulent spiritualists. Here, the magicians' bond of secrecy doesn't apply, and Silverman's relating of how Houdini exposed the tricks of the medium's trade makes for hilarious reading. There's also a minor revelation in the book?Houdini's affair with Jack London's widow?and a fascinating account of his friendship and falling-out with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The biography finds its ultimate success, however, in its portrait of Houdini himself, as sentimental yet calculating, generous yet penny-pinching, goodhearted yet relentlessly self-promoting. It also excels in depicting an era in show business that at least equaled our own in shamelessness, raw energy and cheerful cynicism. The relative high price of the volume is likely due to the more than 100 b&w photos, not seen by PW. U.K., translation, first serial, dramatic rights: Hugh Rawson.Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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