David Copperfield’s History of Magic by David Copperfield, Richard Wiseman, David Britland & Homer Liwag (photographer)
Magician David Copperfield has been putting together a private museum of magic history for years now. This big, beautiful coffee table book highlights certain pieces in his collections in order to tell a short history of stage magic, from Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin’s mystery clocks through Copperfield’s own Death Saw illusion. Each chapter is only a half dozen pages long; these are biographical sketches, not anything too in-depth. If you’re newly interested in magic, this is a great primer, but don’t expect any techniques to be outlined. (Or, if you’re interested in magic history, but don’t want the secrets spoiled, worry not: this book is mostly spoiler free.) The true value for someone who already knows some of the history is in the photography. Seeing some of these items, like one of Adelaide Herrmann’s dresses, in full color is really great. It’s easy to think of history in black and white or sepia tones. Or, with magic, in the garish colors of posters. The true colors of things make them ever more real.
In related news, I won a pack of cards related to the book. I will be using them as my Deal Me In deck for 2022.
Me: “I’m going to finish the two books I have in progress and start new ones on Jan. 1st.”
Also Me: *starts reading several more books*