The Secret Life of Houdini

  • by William Kalush, Larry Sloman
  • Narrated by Adam Grupper
  • 6 hrs and 13 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Handcuff King. Escape Artist. International Superstar. Since his death in 1926, Harry Houdini's life has been chronicled in books, in films, and on television. Now, in this groundbreaking biography, renowned magic expert William Kalush and best-selling writer Larry Sloman team up to find the man behind the myth. Drawing from millions of pages of research, they describe in vivid detail the passions that drove Houdini to perform ever-more-dangerous feats, his secret life as a spy, and a pernicious plot to subvert his legacy. After years of struggling on the dime-museum circuit, Harry Houdini got a break that thrust him into the spotlight, performing for royalty and commanding vast sums. At a time when spy agencies frequently co-opted amateurs, Houdini went to London and developed a relationship with a man who would run MI-5; for the next several years, he traveled to Germany and Russia and routinely reported his findings. After World War I, Houdini set out to infiltrate and expose the seamy world of fake spirit mediums, triggering the wrath of a group of fanatical spiritualists led by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Death threats became an everyday occurrence, but the group would pose an even greater danger to Houdini's legacy.
As exciting as any good thriller, The Secret Life of Houdini traces the arc of the master magician's life from desperate poverty to worldwide legend and initiates the listener into the arcane world of professional magic.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wait for the unabridged version

William Kalush and Larry "Ratso" Sloman are two of the best non-fiction writers in the business. The written version of this book is outstanding. Unfortunatley the abridged audio version is not. In the future the publishers would be well served to release the written book and release the audio version when it is fully ready. This appears to be a hurried, not well thought out production.
The audio editor left out some of the most compelling interesting parts of Mr. Houdini's life and does nothing more than recount Mr. Houdini's public performances. This makes the audio version seem repetitive and monontous.
Too bad, very disappointing. I recommend waiting for the unabridged audio version or to read the written word.
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- Rob

Very good, but wanted more.

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed this book. I learned a lot about Houdini that I didn't know. But this was an abridged book and I felt there were some things left out or overly summarized. I'll check out the unabridged version from the library.

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Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-19-2006
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio