Houdini!!! : The Career of Ehrich Weiss
Until now there has not been an adequate biography of Houdini. Kenneth Silverman, author of prizewinning biographies of Cotton Mather and Edgar A. Poe, has drawn on fresh information to produce a fascinating and rich account of Houdini's life.Silverman tells the story of Houdini's origins as Ehrich Weiss, one of four sons of Rabbi Mayer Weiss, an emigre from Hungary to America; his theatrical debut in dime museums and burlesque shows during the 1890s; and his rapid rise to stardom that culminated in twenty-five years of worldwide fame. Silverman also describes Houdini's tangled family life, his war against Spiritualism, and his encounters with such celebrities as Sarah Bernhardt, Jack London, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Most of all, he re-creates the illusions and escapes that Houdini performed throughout Europe, the United States, Russia, and Australia - amazements that made Houdini the highest-paid variety artist of his time.Drawing on scrapbooks and diaries that no other biographer has used, as well as stenographic transcripts, court records, and hundreds of unpublished notes and letter, Silverman treats in depth many unfamiliar facets of Houdini's career - Houdini as aviator, fight fan, inventor, author, filmmaker, book collector, and fraud-buster. He reveals for the first time Houdini's affair with the widow of a famous American writer and offers new information about his early circus days, his run-ins with anti-Semitism, his struggle to educate himself, his stormy rivalries with other magicians, and his sudden death at the age of fifty-two.Enhanced by more than one hundred photographs of Houdini and his escapes, many never before or rarely published, Houdini!!! is a penetrating study of a legendary performer.
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- Paperback | 480 pages
- 155 x 235 x 38.1mm | 612.35g
- 13 Jul 1999
- HarperCollins Publishers Inc
- New York, NY, United States