Publisher's Note:  

A century ago, the curious idea that spirits not only survive death but can be contacted on the “other side” was widespread. Psychic mediums led countless séances, claiming to connect the grieving with their lost relations through everything from frenzied trance writing to sticky expulsions of ectoplasm. 
The craze caught Harry Houdini’s attention. Well-known by then as most renowned magician and escape artist, he began to investigate these spiritual phenomena. Are ghosts real? Can we communicate with them? Catch them in photographs? Or are all mediums “flim-flammers,” employing tricks and illusions like Houdini himself? 
Peopled with odd and fascinating characters, Houdini’s gripping quest will excite readers’ universal wonderment with life, death, and the possibility of the Beyond. 

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Viking Books for Young Readers

The Magician and the Spirits

by Deborah Noyes

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Overall Review:  

Harry Houdini was a master entertainer and an engineering genius who orchestrated some tricks never before seen; some of which have never been successfully replicated.  He was, and is, the stuff of legends.  But most have never heard of Houdini's other life's work. The master magician spent his life exposing the frauds and tricksters of the Spiritualist Movement.

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw a rise in Spiritualism; the belief that there is life after death and those in the afterlife communicate directly with the living through mediums.  In her book The Magician and the Spirits author Deborah Noyes does a beautiful job bringing this historical phenomenon to life.  Noyes is incredibly well-researched on both the history of the famous Harry Houdini and history of Spiritualism, illustrating for the reader just how intertwined the two really were.  Rife with direct quotes, photographs, and interesting asides throughout, Noyes transports the reader back in time to an often forgotten, and hotly contested, period in our history.

Review of an Advanced Reader Copy

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  1 religous exclamation.

Violence/Gore:  Many references to historical deaths; reference to a riot that destroyed property; man collapses; reference to the assasination of Arch Duke Ferdinand; brief references to murders and suicides; Man punches other man, resulting in death

Sex/Nudity:  Reference to man performing tricks in the nude.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death, afterlife, illegal activities, war, spiritualism.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Occasional, brief references to adults drinking alcohol.

Reviewed By Amberle
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