The Secret History of Magic: The True Story of the Deceptive Art
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"“I was the first in line for this book, I’m a big fan of the authors. The Secret History of Magic is an original look at a beloved art. It reveals how magicians did it, why magicians did it, and why we will always be amazed.” -Neil Patrick Harris"
Pull back the curtain on the real history of magic – and discover why magic really matters
Two renowned historians of stage magic team up to produce this definitive, engaging history of stage magic, from Ancient Egypt to David Copperfield. Fifty glorious illustrations throughout.
If you read a standard history of magic, you learn that it begins in ancient Egypt, with the resurrection of a goose in front of the Pharaoh. You discover how magicians were tortured and killed during the age of witchcraft. You are told how conjuring tricks were used to quell rebellious colonial natives. The history of magic is full of such stories, which turn out not to be true. Behind the smoke and mirrors, however, lies the real story of magic.
It is a history of people from humble roots, who made and lost fortunes, and who deceived kings and queens. In order to survive, they concealed many secrets, yet they revealed some and they stole others. They engaged in deception, exposure, and betrayal, in a quest to make the impossible happen. They managed to survive in a world in which a series of technological wonders appeared, which previous generations would have considered magical. Even today, when we now take the most sophisticated technology for granted, we can still be astonished by tricks that were performed hundreds of years ago.
The Secret History of Magic reveals how this was done. It is about why magic matters in a world that no longer seems to have a place for it, but which desperately needs a sense of wonder.