Charles Fort

Charles Fort : The Man Who Invented the Supernatural

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The seminal biography of the twentieth century s premier chronicler of the paranormal, Charles Fort a man whose very name gave rise to an adjective, "fortean," to describe the unexplained. By the early 1920s, Americans were discovering that the world was a strange place. Charles Fort could demonstrate that it was even stranger than anyone suspected. Frogs fell from the sky. Blood rained from the heavens. Mysterious airships visited the Earth. Dogs talked. People disappeared. Fort asked why, but, even more vexing, he also asked why we weren t paying attention. Here is the first fully rendered literary biography of the man who, more than any other figure, would define our idea of the anomalous and paranormal. In "Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural," the acclaimed historian of stage magic Jim Steinmeyer goes deeply into the life of Charles Fort as he saw himself: first and foremost, a writer. At the same time, Steinmeyer tells the story of an era in which the certainties of religion and science were being turned on their heads. And of how Fort significantly was the first man who challenged those orthodoxies not on the grounds of some counter-fundamentalism of his own but simply for the plainest of reasons: they didn t work. In so doing, Fort gave voice to a generation of doubters who would neither accept the straight story of scholastic science nor credulously embrace fantastical visions. Instead, Charles Fort demanded of his readers and admirers the most radical of human acts: Thinking."show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 332 pages
  • 137.16 x 210.82 x 33.02mm | 498.95g
  • Tarcher
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • frontispiece, black & white plates
  • 1585426407
  • 9781585426409
  • 1,102,835

Review quote

"This is how biographies should be written: Steinmeyer the ideal host, introducing us to a fascinating stranger, and sliding into the background...Here is a storyteller with a glint in his eye. Pull up a chair, you won't be disappointed." --Mark Stafford, "Times of London" "An engrossing biography." --Michael Dirda, "The Washington Post " "Perceptive and entertaining." --Ed Park, "Los Angeles Times "" ""Steinmeyer is a gifted biographer, an elegant and unobtrusive author who shows us an entirely fascinating, shy, and witty man, a 20th-century original. This book is not to be missed." --Margaret Heilbrun, "Library Journal" "Steinmeyer conjures up his subject's world with wit and empathy, and subtly tracks the events that formed Fort's singular character. The man emerges as eccentric, funny, self-effacing and contradictory. Even the most devoted skeptic will enjoy his company." --Harry Pearson, "The Daily Mail" "Fort can easily be lampooned as the man who wrote about rains of frogs, but as Jim Steinmeyer emphasizes in this intriguing biography, he trod a narrow tightrope between belief and skepticism. His life, as graphically portrayed in this book, was often frustrated and unfulfilled. But the legacy he left makes the world a brighter place: paradoxically, both saner and sillier." --David V. Barrett, "The Independent" "While American history has relegated Fort to the same curiosity file he so deliberately plumbed, Fort's influence has outstretched his literary contributions. Steinmeyer conjures both the image and mind of Fort in such a way as to mirror Fort's own writings. In doing so, Steinmeyer offers readers a psychological profile of Fort, as well as a glimpse into the culture and history that birthed the supernatural interests of our nation." --Michael Mason, "Tulsa World" "Steinmeyer captures Fort's wry humor, skepticism and wildest notions. He has emerged from the archives with a wonderful, prismatic portrait. "--Publishers Weekly " "This odd, unique character emerges fully rounded in Jim Steinmeyer's fascinating, sympathetic biography." --Richard Lingeman, author of "Theodore Dreiser: An American Journey" "A colorful portrait of an offbeat character." --"Kirkus Reviews"" " "A delightful book." --Robert Ito, "Los Angeles Magazine"" " "A jolly biography." --Damian Thompson, " London Telegraph" "Steinmeyer has produced a meticulously researched, marvelously readable window on the life of this extraordinary man. Was he a genius or a crank? Fort's message is that we should not always seek solutions, because there might be none. That is Steinmeyer's verdict on the man himself." --Andrew Crumey, "The Scotsman"show more

About Jim Steinmeyer

Jim Steinmeyer is the critically acclaimed author of "The Glorious Deception," "Charles Fort," and "Hiding the Elephant," a "Los Angeles Times" bestseller. He is also a leading designer of magic illusion who has done work for television, Broadway, and many of the best-known names in modern magic. He lives in Los Angeles, more

Rating details

176 ratings
3.57 out of 5 stars
5 14% (25)
4 43% (76)
3 31% (54)
2 10% (17)
1 2% (4)
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