Houdini: The Elusive American

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Product Details

$26.00  $24.18
Yale University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.4 X 1.0 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Adam Begley is the author of Updike and The Great Nadar. He was a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography, and for many years the books editor of the New York Observer.


"Vivid."--David Denby, New Yorker
"Splendid. . . . Houdini was a master of self-invention, blending the facts of his life with gross exaggerations and biographical fantasies, all of which Mr. Begley deftly untangles, offering the reader a visceral sense of this deeply mysterious, driven, egomaniacal genius of a man.... Mr. Begley's book is terrific."--Allan Zola Kronzek, East Hampton Star
"Begley weaves. . . . disparate threads throughout the biography in a compelling narrative, all the while maintaining a subtle reminder that Judaism was on the periphery of Houdini's life."--Arnie Bernstein, NY Journal of Books
"This biography from Adam Begley goes beyond the questions you'd think to ask. Not so much how did he do it? but why did he feel the need to continually imprison himself? A riveting new read."--Katie Yee, Lit Hub
"Witty, intelligent, and sprightly, Adam Begley's Houdini tells a story that is not only central to the American experience, but strangely pertinent to the fakery, fraudulence, and self-promotion dominating our news waves at present."--Wendy Lesser, author of Jerome Robbins: A Life in Dance