Harry Houdini mesmerized a generation of Americans when he was alive, and continues to do so eighty years after his death. This is a "snapshot" of Houdini's life, centering on one of his most famous jumps. As Houdini prepares for a death-defying leap into the icy Charles River in Boston, biographer Jason Lutes and artist Nick Bertozzi reveal Houdini's life and influence: from the anti-Semitism Houdini fought all his life, to the adulation of the American public; from his hounding by the press, to his loving relationship with his wife Bess; from his egoism to his insecurity; from his public persona -- to the secret behind his most amazing trick! And it's all in graphic form, so it's fresh, original, and unlike anything previously published about this most fascinating of American showmen.
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Jason Lutes is a cartoonist living in Seattle. He has been an admirer of Houdini for most of his adult life, and his celebrated graphic novel for adults, Jar of Fools, also pays homage to the Handcuff King.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* Following Houdini on the morning of his leap (while handcuffed) into the frigid Boston River, readers gain a remarkably complete picture of his world. They will meet his wife, Bess; his strong-arm man, Beatty; reporters desperate to get a quote; and crowds hungry for a glimpse of him. Most of all, they get to know Houdini himself, who, as an extensive introduction notes, was probably the most famous man in the world at the time. Proud and obsessed--with his skill, his fame, and his wife--Houdini was a showman of the highest order who knew he represented hope to his adoring American public. He also knew that he had an unprecedented talent for self-hype. Avoiding overt, showy tricks themselves, Lutes and Bertozzi^B use clean, simple storytelling and crisp, clear black-and-white art to create not only a portrait of the man but also that sense of suspense and anticipation Houdini generated in his performances. Endnotes linked to specific pictures offer background on everything from anti-Semitism (Houdini was Jewish) to handcuffs. A bibliography of mostly older adult titles is appended. Jesse Karp
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