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The Illustrated History of Magic

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Set off on a magical history tour with Milbourne Christopher's classic Illustrated History of Magic. Follow the fascinating stories of the world's greatest conjurers, from sorcerer-priests in ancient Egypt, The Great Herrmann, Harry Kellar, Chung Ling Soo, Houdini, to modern miracle workers like David Copperfield, Siegfreid and Roy, and David Blaine. Filled with fantastic illustrations—poster art, photographs, illusion diagrams—this book is a feast for anyone interested in the ...

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Overview

Set off on a magical history tour with Milbourne Christopher's classic Illustrated History of Magic. Follow the fascinating stories of the world's greatest conjurers, from sorcerer-priests in ancient Egypt, The Great Herrmann, Harry Kellar, Chung Ling Soo, Houdini, to modern miracle workers like David Copperfield, Siegfreid and Roy, and David Blaine. Filled with fantastic illustrations—poster art, photographs, illusion diagrams—this book is a feast for anyone interested in the conjuring arts.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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 featan 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. (Oct.)
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.
Booknews
Milbourne was a leader in the revival of stage magic in Europe and America from the 1950s until his death in 1984. His widow has updated his 1973 history of the art to include the most popular recent and current acts, including Doug Henning, Melinda, and Seigfried & Roy. He discusses personalities and trends, and explains the secrets of many of the illusions. Includes many old photographs and posters. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780435070168
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 10/29/1996
  • Edition description: UPDATED
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 484
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.82 (h) x 2.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Milbourne Christopher, Maurine Christopher, Foreword by David Copperfield

Milbourne Christopher played a crucial role in reviving magic’s appeal for audiences in America and Europe, practicing his craft on TV and Broadway. An expert and author on magic, extrasensory perception, and the hereafter, Christopher lectured at colleges and universities and was at the forefront of the magic world from the 1950s until his death, at 70, in 1984.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
1 Myth or Magic 1
2 The First Wonder-Workers 8
3 The Automaton Chess Player 30
4 Magic in the Colonies 48
5 American Indian Conjuring 69
6 Professor Pinetti 82
7 Signor Blitz 97
8 The Great Wizard of the North 111
9 Robert-Houdin - Innovator 131
10 England's Home of Mystery 155
11 The Great Herrmanns 181
12 Around the World with Kellar 198
13 Thurston - The Wonder Show of the Universe 222
14 Ching Ling Foo, Chung Ling Soo, and The Great Lafayette 241
15 The Selbit Sensations 259
16 The Great Vaudeville Specialists 274
17 Le Roy and Goldin - Trendsetters 293
18 Carter, Nicola, and Raymond 319
19 Houdini 339
20 Blackstone Versus Dante 368
21 Dunninger - Master Mentalist 388
22 Big Shows and Small Screens 401
23 Magic Superstars Poised for the Twenty-first Century 432
Sources and Acknowledgments 465
Bibliography 467
Index 473
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2000

    The Best Magic Book

    This is the Best Magic Book I have ever read!!! It contains Magic Info about its History that i didn't know!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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