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The War Magician

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  176 Ratings  ·  24 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
Published October 13th 2005 by Not Avail (first published 1983)
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Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been sitting on my shelf for some time (taunting me) so I thought it was about time I set the record straight.

Without re-typing the cover blurb all over again here we have the incredible story of Jasper Maskelyne who during the 1930s made his name as a magician and illusionist. However when war broke out he found himself another role. That of the war Magician where he would put is understanding and familiarity of misdirection and subterfuge to use in the theatre of war.

Now I will b
Aug 12, 2008 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
No rating because I haven't finished it.

The premise and the storyline sounds so exciting! But after I learnt from other reviewers that many of the author's claims have hardly any solid evidence to back them up, I lost interest and returned the book to the library.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Cool story but it read a bit like British propaganda and i found it hard to suspend my disbelief.
Jun 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biog
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
Bryan Higgs
Jan 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
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.

May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, loved-it
Excellent! If you're looking for a book that is interesting and not exactly like you read last week - this book is it!
It's about WWII and the efforts of Jasper Maskelyne, a world famous magician, who used his familial gift of illusion, stage magic and special effects in the battlefields of North Africa.
Sooooo interesting. It helped contextualize WWII for me more than any history lesson I've ever had. The author does seem to know a lot about what people are thinking at all times, which is a bit q
Carolyn Rose
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Having seen this book mentioned by Elly Griffiths, I wanted to get to know the man who inspired her Max Mephisto. If we'd learned about all this stuff when I was back in high school, history class would have been much more interesting.
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: truestories
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of the most interesting and fascinating stories to come from WWII.
Joe Faust
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended bio of one of WWII’s forgotten heroes.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really interesting! How Jasper Maskelyne, a magician, entered the second world war with his knowledge of tricks and illusions to pivotal effect.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Almost certainly a book of fiction. But still a good read.
Ryan Jones
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very Interesting read. Will read it again.
Dec 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
This is a book that makes you feel angry. You think it's a history or a biography, but it is neither. It is a fabrication. Because you can't know what to be sure of, nothing is real.
John D. Robinson
rated it liked it
Dec 21, 2011
Peter O'malley
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Dec 01, 2012
Anna Harry
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Jan 09, 2016
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Mar 18, 2007
Roger Woods
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Aug 11, 2014
Julie S.
rated it it was amazing
Jul 30, 2015
rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Dec 30, 2012
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Oct 11, 2016
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Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

David Fisher is the author of more than twenty New York Times bestsellers and coauthor of Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies series. His work has also appeared in most major magazines and many newspapers. He lives in New York with his wife and two sons.
More about David Fisher...

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“He had learned so much in the desert. Real magic did exist in the world, he was sure of that now. But it had nothing to do with elaborate productions or crafty legerdemain. It was the simple wonder of love and loss and renewal and even death.” 1 likes
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