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Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss
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Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  158 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In the most comprehensive biography written about the great illusionist yet, author Ken Silverman, who has won both a Pulitzer and a Bancroft prize, draws on never-before-used scrapbooks, personal diaries, court transcripts and hundreds of unpublished notes and letters collected from around the world to reveal a far richer, more personal view of Houdini than ever before. W ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published October 29th 1997 by Harper Perennial (first published 1996)
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May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I remember as a kid going into a store and being fascinated by a bunch of cheap magic tricks that looked interesting but once I bought them ultimately became rather boring and hokey. Make a card jump from the deck! Amaze your friends!
Speaking of cards, Houdini was the real deal. His name has become synonymous with magic, and his now famous stunts are still being performed by other magicians to this day.
In this book Kenneth Silverman does a fine job of chronicling Houdini’s career and how his act
Steve Kimmins
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Don't read many biographies. But I've always had a fascination with conjuring and the showmanship that's critical to support it. And this biography shows why Houdini was so famed because of his genuine but hard learnt skills. And what a fascinating and complicated guy he was. But likeable too.
Scott Klemm
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss" is a fascinating biography of America’s most famous magician and escape artist. The author, Ken Silverman, is a Professor Emeritus at the New York University and a 1985 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography.

In the past I read several other biographies beginning as a teenager with Harold Kellock’s "Houdini, His Life Story." However, none surpass Silverman’s in detail and depth of research. For example, other writers have recounted how Ehrich Weiss adopted th
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfic-biography
There are many biographies of Houdini out there, and I've only read this one...I don't make it a habit to be a scholar on one person. But I can tell you that this was a very engaging book, and I finished it feeling like I knew a great deal about the man, both as a man and as a performer.

This was not just about the magic and escape act. This was about the personality of Ehrich Weiss himself...his ego, his adverturing spirit. I learned things that were fascinating, such as his immediate appreciati
Eric Cartier
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fascinating (the tricks and escapes Houdini created and performed, and how he completely harnessed both the media and the affordances of the industrial era) and frustrating (Houdini's egomania can be grating, and Silverman spends too much time on Spiritualism). For years I've wanted to read about Houdini, which I didn't recall until I learned that the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, where I work, has a large collection of his letters, memorabilia and photographs (many of which Silverman ...more
Peter Salva
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book. Though it really is true that there may never be a complete and utterly comprehensive biography of Houdini, this is the most well-balanced telling of his life that I have read so far. The author is not fanciful in his telling, and does not get swept up in hero-worship, as the authors of several other biographies do. Nor does Silverman muddle the story with Freudian analysis galore. For my money that makes this biography of Houdini the best yet. As a side note, I cannot ...more
Mary Louise
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story.
John A
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fascinating history - shows all sides of Houdini's personality.
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Not a run of the mill Houdini Bio, with lots of interesting nformation and descriptions of his Many accomplishments.
Michele J
Feb 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to learn more about Houdini but this book was just way too descriptive for me.
Dec 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book pretty much covers anything and everything you could hope to know about Houdini. It is a little long-winded at times, but very interesting.
Becky Loader
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this biography after reading "The confabulist" to get confirmation of how much was fictionalized in the first title. I especially liked the photos included here.
Apr 21, 2014 marked it as abandoned
I wanted to learn more about Houdini but this was way too descriptive for me...
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