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The War Magician

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Jasper Maskelyne was a world famous magician and illusionist in the 1930s. When war broke out, he volunteered his services to the British Army and was sent to Egypt where the desert war had just begun. He used his skills to save the vital port of Alexandria from German bombers and to 'hide' the Suez Canal from them. He invented all sorts of camouflage methods to make truck ...more
Unknown Binding
Published October 13th 2005 by Not Avail (first published 1983)
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Being a history buff, I really enjoyed The War Magician, by David Fisher. It's a dramatized account of a true story, so of course the dialogue is made up. But it felt natural to me, and true to form, and it kept the story flowing well.

I found the beginning of the story interesting, but the middle became rather flat. Maskelyne's projects and ideas seemed somewhat repetitious. If more of the finer details had been left off, the book could have covered more of the story. I especially felt this, whe
Aug 14, 2008 Rose added it
Shelves: 2008
A shame. I very much enjoyed this book, although I wasn't very happy with the lack of distinction between things that really happened and things that were clearly fabricated (e.g. dialogue), or with the lack of information about the book's sources. Checking online, such as at this site I find that my suspicions about the book appear to be true, and that it seems to be highly unreliable and drawing heavily on the imagination both of David Fisher himself and of the ghostwriter of Maskelyne's Magi ...more
Bryan Higgs
This was an interesting book, claiming lots of things about Jasper Maskelyne and his supposed exploits during WW2, mostly in Egypt against Rommel.

The author writes in a style that seems to be a mixture of history and dramatization, giving details of conversations and other characters in his "Magic Gang". But no attribution is given, at least in the edition of the book I read (Berkley Books, NY; ISBN 0-425-06295-3) that explains how these conversations/activities/reports might have been derived.

This book has a major flaw, so I am inclined to think there are probably other big errors too and, therefore, doubt most of the facts and just read this book as a fiction. That is a shame for Jasper Maskelyne as he was a fascinating man who undoubtedly made a huge contribution to the war effort and his story should be told, but this author is not one you can trust to tell the true story and his editor and publisher also let Maskelyne down by failing to pick up on the glaring error.

The author is
This was a great read, especially since I was stuck at the Second Infantry Division in Korea at the time.

After getting out and many years later, I started to look on the internet to find a copy to reread. It was during that research I discovered that many fictionalized accounts also took place in the book. This brings into question the real work as well, which on its own may have been fascinating enough. And since the fiction eclipses the reality we cannot discern what is truth and what is a lie
Almost certainly a book of fiction. But still a good read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2011 Marie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fact
True story of one man and his teams contribution to the war effort (WW2)
Not brilliantly written and I do occasionally question how the author can understand what is going on in so many of the peoples heads, did they really write that many letters and all those letters survived? But interesting anyway as it describes all the camouflage and more that the team came up with.
I love WWII history, and have read many, many WWII books; despite my knowledge of this piece of our history, I had never learned anything about how magic was used to help the allies to win the war. Very interesting read, many short stories revolving around Jasper Maskelyne, the magician and his incredible tricks.
25 years ago when I first read this, I thought it had all the elements of a good film. Sent a copy to my cousin Sy, a writer/ producer in LA. Then I gave a copy to Max...

I still think it would make a great TV series. It has all of the elements of MASH, but with magic.
Tells the story of the wartime exploits of Jasper Maskelyne, a stage magician who became one of the key figures in the war in the desert, due to his skill of making things appear what they were not.
Really interesting! How Jasper Maskelyne, a magician, entered the second world war with his knowledge of tricks and illusions to pivotal effect.
One of the most interesting and fascinating stories to come from WWII.
Joe Faust
Recommended bio of one of WWII’s forgotten heroes.
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