Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No. 11 - The Secret Life of Houdini

by William Kalush and Larry Sloman

Started: February 16
Finished: February 24

Notes: I've felt drawn to Houdini as a minor but interesting historical figure not only for his professional as a stage magician, but also for his interests in spiritualism. I've been meaning to read a biography about him for some time, and this recent one seems to be one of the best and worth my time.

Mini review: Though this book glosses over Houdini's youth, it quite intensively goes over his adult life, literally month by month in many instances. You won't find the secrets to Houdini's tricks here, but you will discover much about the man himself. The authors here seem to be pushing the possibility Houdini worked with U.S. and British intelligence services in gathering information in foreign lands and possibly even about domestic criminals, which all seems quite likely considering the information promoted in this book and the fact Houdini didn't seem to hide the fact he worked as sort of a spy sometimes. This book also seems to lean toward the possibility Houdini was murdered by Spiritualists, a group he publically and privately attacked numerous, numerous times; this idea I find a little harder to digest, but it's not impossible. Actually, the section of this book dealing with Houdini's taking on the Spiritualist frauds I found the most interesting parts of the whole book.

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