The Art of Magic - Carl Waldman, Joe Layden, Jamy Ian Swiss
In this companion to the PBS special The Art of Magic authors Carl Waldman and Joe Layden with conjurer Jamy Ian Swiss, present a compelling written history of an enduring art form. Many of today’s most celebrated performers, such as Burton, David Copperfield, and Siegfried & Roy, command top dollar thanks to the 20th-Century phenomena of Las Vegas and television. They are carrying on a tradition that is actually thousands of years old – one that has a historical significance that reaches beyond entertainment.
Did you know that ancient Egypt gave the world two occult practices necromancy (divination by conjuring up the dead) add alchemy (the attempt to transmute base metals into gold, to find substances to cure disease and to achieve immortality.
Did you also know that third century frescoes depict Jesus converting water into wine and multiplying loaves and fishes with a wand, suggesting that early Christians perceived Christ as a magician?
Also, had the greatest conjurers of the 19th and 20th centuries such as Robert Houdin, Harry Houdini, Harry Blackstone or Penn & Teller – been alive in medieval times, they’d have been burned at the stake for being witches!
The Art of Magic is filled with paintings, engravings, and wildly colorful posters that will give readers a glimpse into the rich history of an art form that today still thrives because of its universal, timeless appeal. It also provides a look at contemporary performers who have mastered and adapted the world’s greatest illusions, to help insure that the magic continues into the 21st century.