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By John Fisher

Hardback, 1987, 287pages, good condition

The art of conjuring is arguably the earliest recorded theatrical skill: its practitioners have variously'been called necromancer, wizard, alchemist, charlatan, jongleur and magician. The popular entertainer, Paul Daniels, has today revolutionised this most spellbinding of performing arts, proving himself the modern master of an ancient craft. John Fisher's book, without following a strict chronological plan, records the progression of magic through the years and relates Paul Daniels to the most relevant of his illustrious predecessors and contemporaries. While not a full-dress academic history of magic, it conveys something that other works have played down: the personalities of those who people that history, with vivid accounts of what they actually did in performance, whether on stage or in an informal situation.
This is also the first biographical record of Daniels's career, containing the most comprehensive assessment of a popular magician's skills since Houdini. Daniels-showman, clown and public figure - continues in the great tradition of miracle-workers and his repertoire, moulded by the insatiable demands of television, constitutes the largest of any magical performer in history.
Like any great magic show, John Fisher's highly entertaining account is full of surprises. Here you will discover how a sexual scandal may have led to the first production of a rabbit from a hat; how the legendary French magician, Robert-Houdin, anticipated science with his inventive skills and quelled an Algerian rebellion in the process; how Houdini was almost killed by arsenical fumes in a sea-monster's belly; how Churchill allowed magic to interrupt parliamentary business during the darkest hours of war. Equally fascinating is the backstage detail of Daniels's experiences as he becomes the first authenticated magician to perform the `Indian Rope Trick' outdoors; re-creates the bullet-catching feat that killed Chung Ling Please click here to ask a question
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  • Seller location: North Shore, Auckland, NZ

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