From Publishers Weekly
Expanding on his chapters on Howard Thurston in his history of magic, Hiding the Elephant, Steinmeyer produces an engaging full-length biography of the man Orson Welles called œthe master. While Houdini™s daring stunts were legendary, Steinmeyer says Thurston was the public™s favorite, captivating audiences with his œself-assured grandeur. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Thurston gained fame in the early part of the 20th century with his œRising Card Trick, in which he levitated cards named by audience members. He successfully changed with the times, going from street performances to wagon tours through the West. He then became a top vaudeville star, but wisely left the vaudeville circuit to produce more ambitious spectacles involving 40 tons of magic apparatus and colorful costumes, a variety of animals, and more than two dozen assistants. Tracing the magician™s rise to fame, this volume neatly juggles his marriages and his magic with his triumphs, travails, showmanship, and marketing ballyhoo (œThe Wonder Show of the Universe). Steinmeyer recovers, from the shadows of his greatest rival, a figure whose grandiose productions were an American institution for almost 30 years. (Feb. 3)
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"There is no greater expert on the history of stage magicians than Jim Steinmeyer. His deep knowledge of the subject, combined with a remarkable mastery of magical know-how, makes this book a smart, fantastic read. I can't recommend it enough!"
-Neil Patrick Harris
"Jim Steinmeyer knows the outside-in world of magic from the inside; he is a celebrated 'invisible man' - inventor, designer and creative brain behind many of the great stage magicians of the last quarter-century... Steinmeyer writes about events a century ago as vividly as if he had been there; and in a sense, he has been... No author has ever better conveyed the way the love of conjuring consumes a magician's life with magic's joys, terrors and longings."
-Teller (of Penn and Teller), The New York Times Book Review