It seems these days that books are going extinct. But every now and then a great book comes along that you must make an addition to your personal library. Such is the case with David Copperfield’s History of Magic.
In this article, we review the book that captures the highlights of David Copperfield’s International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts. In the process, we discover a text that could become historic itself. Read on to discover why this text belongs on every magician’s bookshelf.
Inspiration for the Book
Inspiration for writing the book came from the unique tours that David Copperfield gives personally of his museum. The tours start out in a warehouse on the outskirts of Las Vegas. The warehouse is designed to look like a men’s clothing store, called Korby’s. The clothing store is a replica of the store that David’s father once owned.
When guests arrive at a dressing room there is a shirt and tie hanging on the wall. When they pull the tie they open up a hidden world of magic and mystery, and they are escorted into the museum.
The idea behind this book was to recapture the wonder that guests experience when touring David Copperfield’s museum. In the book, the reader is introduced to a series of exhibits in much the same way they would experience them on a live tour.
In order to immerse the reader in the exhibits, the book features full-color photography. David Copperfield’s Director of Design, Homer Liwag, took the photographs.
Liwag had the unique challenge of photographing the personal possessions of the world’s greatest magicians. To accomplish this he decided to depict each featured artifact in situ – as it appears in the museum. Altogether, the book incorporates over 100 photos from the museum to complement the text.
Learning from the Exhibits
Altogether, the book contains 272 pages. The publisher decided to divide the book into nearly 30 chapters to capture the highlights of the museum. Each chapter focuses on a single exhibit. By examining each exhibit in-depth we learn the history of the world’s greatest magicians. In turn, we learn the history of magic itself as an evolving art form.
Themes of the Book
There are several themes that run through the book. One major theme is how magicians overcame adversity in their lives to flourish in the world of magic. An example is Howard Thurston, who was born into poverty but found fame through magic. Also, Cardini overcame his injuries in the First World War by practicing manipulation as a form of physical therapy.
Another theme of the book is how Adelaide Herrman was able to challenge social norms and encourage other women to flourish. Also, the book speaks about the technologies used by magicians and how they give us a glimpse into the future.
Why You Should Own This Book
I believe that we can find inspiration by examining the lives and history of other magicians. Whether we are trying to create a new effect. Or perhaps trying to decide on a new direction for our entire act.
This book is sure to inspire you to examine your own life in the magical arts. This is a book you will come back to again and again during your magical journey. By looking back at magic’s past, it teaches us to prepare for magic’s future.
David Copperfield’s History of Magic is now available from the Institute of Magic website.