The Secret Life of Houdini

The Secret Life of Houdini

The Making of America's First Superhero

Book - 2006
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This volume traces the arc of the master magician's life from desperate poverty to worldwide legend, initiating the reader along the way into the arcane world of professional magic. It decodes a life based on deception, providing an intimate and riveting portrayal of Houdini, the man and the legend.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Atria Books, 2006
Edition: 1st Atria Books hardcover ed. --
ISBN: 9780743272070
Branch Call Number: 793.8092 Houdi-K 3558ad 1
Characteristics: xiv, 592 p. :,ill
Additional Contributors: Sloman, Larry
Alternative Title: Houdini


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Mar 21, 2007

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but there were sections that just dragged on and on. This book certainly could have been about 200 pages shorter. It was fun to learn more about Houdini and his story was covered well. The long chapters about seances (apparently they were obsessed with contacting the dead in the 1910's and 1920's) and Houdini's efforts to debunk these got very tiresome. Also, there are long quotes from newspapers that are tedious to read because the language of the early last century sounds so stilted now. The book is redeemed because Houdini was such a fastinating person. His success was due to hard work and creative showmanship. I'm guessing he would have been a success no matter what he chose to do. One more thing... there were some insights as to how he did his tricks, but it would have been fun to have more information about that. Overall, I give this book a grade of B.

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