Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear Step right up! Come see a his-TORY of magic so lov-ING and com-PRE-hensive it should astound and amaze. Unfortunately, it doesn't. This well-researched account of… Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear Step right up! Come see a his-TORY of magic so lov-ING and com-PRE-hensive it should astound and amaze. Unfortunately, it doesn't. This well-researched account of… Nonfiction
Book Review

Hiding The Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear (Fall 2003)

EW's GRADE
B

Details Writer: Jim Steinmeyer; Genre: Nonfiction

Step right up! Come see a his-TORY of magic so lov-ING and com-PRE-hensive it should astound and amaze. Unfortunately, it doesn't. This well-researched account of stage illusions circa late 19th century is chockful of colorful characters (Harry Houdini), mystifying tricks (disappearing motorcycles), and old saws (an entire chapter is devoted to -- what else? -- sawing a woman in half). But the author gets stuck between his audiences; his text often bogs down in too-technical detail and skimps on the most rudimentary characteristic of magic: wonder.

Originally posted Nov 14, 2003 Published in issue #737 Nov 14, 2003 Order article reprints
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