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The Illustrated History of Magic Hardcover – October 29, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0435070168 ISBN-10: 0435070169 Edition: Upd Sub
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Hardcover, October 29, 1996
$74.06 $23.78
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Feared as the devil's handiwork in medieval Europe, officially outlawed in the British colonies of North America, magic performances nevertheless attracted steadily widening audiences who marveled at the sleight of hand or sought proof of the existence of supernatural forces. First published in 1973 and long out of print, this mesmerizing, intelligent history sweeps from the earliest known image of a conjuring feat?an Egyptian wall painting made around 2500 B.C.?to the feats of that renowned escapologist Harry Houdini. In between, the authors introduce us to Muslim traveler Ibn Batuta's 1355 eyewitness account of an Indian rope trick in a Chinese royal court and to the exploits of trailblazers like French virtuoso Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, British showman Signor Antonio Blitz and Victorian entertainment producer John Nevil Maskelyne. This updated edition also covers contemporaries such as Doug Henning, Siegfried & Roy, David Copperfield and Las Vegas star Melinda Saxe. Among the 300 illustrations (plus eight pages in color) are posters, ads, photos, engravings, cartoons and playbills. Milbourne Christopher, who died in 1984, was a professional magician, lecturer and historian. Maurine Christopher is his widow.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Presenting prodigious feats of prestidigitation and their practitioners, this book, first published in 1973, recounts the stories of notable necromancers from Professor Pinetti and Signor Blitz to Houdini and Blackstone. Period posters and publicity photos punctuate the narrative. Milbourne Christopher, according to David Copperfield's introduction, was a major influence in bringing magic to prime time network television. He died in 1984, and his widow Maurine Christopher has updated his work, adding sections on contemporary leaders of legerdemain, including Copperfield, Ricky Jay, Melinda, and Siegfried and Roy. A bibliography rich in primary sources enhances the production and enables it to live up to Copperfield's recommendation as "the best source on the topic." Suitable for general as well as performing arts collections.?Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 484 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann Drama; Upd Sub edition (October 29, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0435070169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0435070168
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,412,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Magickal Merlin on August 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
When i first started reading this interesting magic book,i thought it would be about the magic tricks performed .It's really a biographical book about the magicians,whose magicial craftsmanship made them world famous.The book is packed with magicial history.The halls and theatres where they were staged,for the captivated and spellbound audiences.Seventeen chapters for the famous conjurers of yesterday and today.Five chapters for the development of our modern magic, based on the art from the ancient sorcerer-priests.There are many pages dedicated to diagrams,colorful artwork,photos,and illustrations.The book was written by the late magician Milbourne Christopher and collaborated upon by his wife ,Maurine Christopher.If you are enthralled by the feats,of the famous magicians of today and those from yesteryear,this book elucidates the lives of these fascinating mystifiers.Awesome book on stage magic history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Breeze on January 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is full of all kinds of magical history and theory. Whether you are a practicing magician, a magic hobbiest or just enjoy reading an interesting historical story... this book is a "Must Read".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By deanalancarnegie on August 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favorite books about the history of magic. Milbourne Christopher, the author was a professional magician himself. He was a devotee of Thurston and Houdini and he had a passion for the history of conjuring.

The book is filled with stories and photos of the past masters. I love the full color section that shows the posters of many of the greats. This version is the updated version so it covers magicians right up to David Coppefield and Doug Henning.

If you are a student of magic or just like interesting histories you can't go wrong with this wonderful book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Del Campo on April 24, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a book on "How to do Magic" but on the History of Magic and the expert conjurers and Illusionist of all times. It's extremely well written with detail accounts of parlor and stage magic stories. If you are a serious Magician, this is a most for your private collection. As a close-up Magician, I have learned many strateties, and this Book served me and inspired me to continue with my craft.

By, Rasputin
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Falls on October 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book that carefully examined the history behind stage magicians. This one does a great job! The illustrations just help make that history even more entertaining. For those interested in stage magicians, especially the great Victorian ones that helped push not only stage magic but also the inventive use of technology, then this is the book for you.
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