How Magicians Invented the Impossible
'A highly entertaining study of magic's Golden Age' (The Times). Simon Mayo and Independent Book of the Year and International Bestseller. The true story behind Jonathan Strange
This is the story of the Golden Age of magic and of the world's most legendary magicians: the eccentric personalities who patented the first ghost and competed fiendishly in the race to make things materialize, levitate and disappear. We meet Harry Kellar, the ruthless thief of secrets who was the model for the Wizard of Oz, and PT Selbit, the first man to saw a woman in half on stage. We meet John Nevil Maskelyne, whose Egyptian Theatre was a London institution for sixty years. HIDING THE ELEPHANT is the masterwork of a man who has dedicated his life to magic, who knows the tricks inside out, and still believes.
“'An extremely entertaining history of magic'”
“'Highly readable... fascinating... remarkable.'”
“'Steinmeyer's history of the golden age of stage magic was a dazzling read, and has given me a few ideas about how to keep the family entertained at Christmas.'”
Matthew Sweet, Independent