Read Houdini: A Life Worth Reading Online

Authors: Higher Read

Tags: #Biographies & Memoirs, #Arts & Literature, #Actors & Actresses, #Entertainers, #Leaders & Notable People, #Rich & Famous, #General Fiction

Houdini: A Life Worth Reading

BOOK: Houdini: A Life Worth Reading
7.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



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From the Publisher


Houdini was a man of magic and mystery. He was also a pilot, an author, an actor, and a rabid opponent of the Spiritualist movement. He was impatient of charlatans and imitators and loving to his family. He had an impressive ego. If any of these facts are new to you, then
Houdini: A Life Worth Reading
is the perfect primer on the man who was, by the end of his life, known only as Houdini.


From his Nude Cell Escape (yes, that is exactly like it sounds) to his methodical debunking of mediums, Houdini orchestrated his talent, persona, and career with care, enthusiasm, and determination.


With an easy-to-read biography, writings from Houdini himself, and quick-fact introductions to each chapter,
Houdini: A Life Worth Reading
will tell you what you want most to know about the King of Handcuffs, also known as Ehrich Weisz, also known as the great Houdini.

How This eBook Is Organized


What You Will Find in Every Part


“Read It and Know It”
sections appear at the beginning of each chapter. These features include brief facts to help you remember important details about the life of Houdini. Use this knowledge at cocktail parties or when you finally land that spot on Jeopardy.


“Know More About
” sections appear throughout the text. These are quick and simple summaries of key concepts. Get to know these and you'll be sure to impress your friends or that know-it-all at work. You can read the book from front to end or you can skip to areas you think sound interesting; there's no wrong way to read this book.


“In Houdini’s Words”
also appear throughout the text. These sections take Houdini’s words as he wrote them and put them in context for you. By reading Houdini’s words alongside his biography, you will increase your understanding of these primary sources.


“Test Your Knowledge”
sections appear at the end of the book. These questions test you on key ideas for each chapter and help you remember main points. Use the Answer Key to check your knowledge. Take the quizzes right after reading the chapter or at the end of the book to discover what you remember of Houdini’s life and times.


Introduction: Houdini, The Legend



The name Houdini is synonymous with intrigue, magic, and delight.
In the history of magic, many performers have amazed, but only Houdini seems to have become the legend that symbolizes the very essence of what it means to be mystified and enthralled.


Magicians notoriously guard their secrets carefully, revealing them to very few outside of the trade, and Houdini was no exception. Some of those secrets he took to his grave. Many of Houdini’s tricks and illusions are still sought after by young and experienced magicians alike.


But Houdini was much more than a mere stage presence; he was a driven, dedicated, death-defying artist who changed the field of magic forever. His many faces, including that of writer, actor, movie producer, collector of literature, and aviator, reveal a man who refused to accept any limits on his capacity to learn, evolve, and amaze.



Ehrich Weiss, the Child who Became Houdini



Read It and Know It


After reading this chapter, you will know more about


  • Houdini’s birth:
    The famous magician was born in Hungary on March 24, 1874.

  • Houdini’s father:
    Mayer Samuel Weisz was a rabbi and passed his love of learning on to his son.

  • The early years:
    The Weisz family was poor, and their later-famous son ran away to ease their financial burden.

  • An early interest in performing:
    In addition to performing for his family as early as nine years old, Houdini learned about magic from his friend Jacob Hyman.


The man who
later became known as Houdini was born on March 24, 1874 in Budapest, Hungary. The name given to him at birth was Ehrich Weisz. Ehrich was the third child born to Rabbi Mayer Samuel Weisz and Cecilia Steiner.


Mayer Weisz was a rabbi with several advanced degrees. A scholar and poet, he practiced German Reform Judaism and spoke German and Hebrew in addition to his native language, Hungarian. Mayer had been married once before he married Ehrich’s mother and had a fourteen-year-old son named Herman at the time of his marriage to Cecilia.


Cecilia Steiner was twelve years younger than her husband. She and Mayer had five boys and one girl together: Nathan, William, Ehrich, Theodore, Leopold, and Gladys, each between two and three years apart in age.

BOOK: Houdini: A Life Worth Reading
7.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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