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The War Magician Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1983

30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Right from his memorable opening line [Fisher] shows a sure touch... a richly entertaining read.' THE SUNDAY TIMES 'a remarkable tale, delightfully told.' SOLDIER magazine 'This is one of those books that once you start, you can't give up... a fascinating read' REGIMENT --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Fisher is the author of more than 40 books on a wide variety of subjects. His work has appeared on bestseller lists around the world. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (November 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425062953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425062951
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,020,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Fisher is senior pastor of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York. He was formerly senior pastor of Colonial Church in Edina, MN.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Eva Arnold on April 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is entertaining, at times awe-inspiring, and is a fascinating glimpse at a little-known aspect of WWII. I take issue with the reviewers who dismiss the entire book as fantasy. You see I actually looked at Mr. Stokes' (a negative reviewer) "debunking" website which he links to in his review. I admit Mr. Stokes does successfully call into question aspects of the real Mr. Maskelyne's character and the dubious provenance of the accounts of interpersonal relationships in _The War Magician_. However, when I eagerly clicked to the part of the website which promised to disprove Maskelyne's actual feats -- moving Alexandria harbor, hiding the Suez Canal, his role in preparing for the Battle of Alamein -- all I found was a rambling essay on WWII strategic deception which had nothing to do with the promised topic. In the absence of specific, skeptical accounts of the actual wartime accomplishments -- rather than character aspersions -- from a website which obviously wishes to take Maskelyne down a peg a or two, I can only conclude that the absence exists because it is impossible to attack the feats. I am much more inclined to believe the reviewer who went to London and researched Maskelyne's official wartime record.

Now, regarding the writing of the book, it is definitely corny at times with the ridiculous dialogue and the pat characterizations of the misfit members of Maskelyne's "Magic Gang." An author's preface would have done much to explain how "David Fisher" (obvious pen name?) put together this account -- however, perhaps there is no preface because David Fisher was interested only in telling a good yarn and his methods would not stand up to scholarly scrutiny.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By plkquist@ix.netcom.com on August 25, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Whether you are a magician or not, you'll love this book. The subjects of the book not only contributed to camoflage techniques, but it also explains how they "moved" the port city of Alexandria to hide it from Axis bombers. Forget smart bombs and laser weapons, here are some real wonder 'weapons'
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Ramos VINE VOICE on October 4, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There is a lot of discussion on whether or not this book is fact or fiction. I picked it up to read because it was a work of "Non-Fiction". But after reading it I am not sure. The book does have verifiable historical detail. But it is filled with complete conversations of the characters/subjects. It seemed to me to be more of a historical novel. Though I do not think everything in the book is accurate, Most of what he is attributed to have done is plausible.

The War Magician written by David Fisher claims to be a true account of the exploits of the illusionist Jasper Maskelyne during the Second World War. Mr. Maskelyne comes from a long line of magicians. And like his ancestor who used his magic knowledge to help T.E. Lawrence in Arabia in WW I, he wanted to do his part in WW II. And so he does. His skills are used to help the British forces in developing new and creative weapons of illusion. Like making the armies look larger then they actually were. To innovations in camouflage, which are very interesting. And these camouflage techniques would take a mind such as Maskelyne had to conceive and execute.

The book makes for very interested reading. And just goes to remind us, that with enough ingenuity and hard work, anything can be accomplished. Regardless if the book is all factual, or if there is some embellishment, it is worth the read.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M.L.B. on March 1, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this book so interesting that after reading it I was prompted to do my own research on Jasper Maskelyne. What I found amazed me! While in London last year I went to the Imperial War Museum where I found pictures of Maskelyne walking through the flames of a burning crashed aircraft. I found letters of commendation from none other than Winston Churchill but most interesting was finding that the bulk of Jasper Maskelyne's war record was labeled "Top Secret" and sealed by the British Government until the year 2046! Although I was initially skeptical of Fishers account I am now convinced that Maskelyne did indeed accomplish the all of the war time illusions detailed in the book. I also learned that many of the camouflage techniques invented by Maskelyne are still in use today and that he is actually the subject of a course taught by a U.S. Military intelligence consultant.
I doubt any Hollywood writer could have come up with a character as original and fascinating as Jasper Maskelyne. This book really is one of those where truth is better than fiction.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sean Barry Weske on March 10, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had the privilege of portraying the Title Character in the History Channel production of this extraordinary person. This is the unique story of the British Stage Magician, Jasper Maskelyne who, when war broke out, offered his 'special skills' to the War Dept. He promptly enlisted in the British Army and attempted to convince the Generals that his skills as an illusionist could be put to use against the Germans. At first, he was laughed at, "What could we possibly use a magician for?" He was asked. "If I could fool an audience only twenty feet away, I could certainly fool the enemy a mile away or more!" He answered. He was put into Camouflage School, where he succeeded in hiding a Machine-gun Bunker so completely that the Inspecting General couldn't find it (even when he was standing right on top of it). Jasper had made his point! He was sent to North Africa, where he put together a hand-picked team of men. His first job was to hide Alexandria Harbour from the Luftwaffe's nightly bombing raids. With the Magician's ability of 'mis-direction', he and his team created a phony harbour some miles away, which looked so like the original, that the invading bombers dropped their cargo on that instead of the correct target. His next task was to hide the Suez Canal, which by using a series of Anti-Aircraft searchlights combined with a collection of mirrors, Jasper and his team caused a 'blinding effect', which confused the Luftwaffe Pilots so, that they couldn't see the target to bomb it. He then put his 'skills' to disguising British tanks to look like harmless trucks and vice-versa. Rommel placed his main forces to oppose, what he thought was a strong force of British tanks, which in reality, were only trucks disguised as tanks.Read more ›
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