Books by Jonathan Margolis

NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

"Glib and entertaining."
Despite its catchy title, there's nothing intimate about this account, nor is it a history of the orgasm, but rather a superficial look at human sexual attitudes and behaviors over time and place. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 20, 2000

"Shallow and glib: Margolis's future will not only be better than we can imagine, but better than he can imagine."
A light and lively survey of dated visions of the future that show the futility of futuristic stargazing, followed by the author's upbeat presumptions for the coming century. Read full book review >
URI GELLER by Jonathan Margolis
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

A mostly credulous look at the famous Israeli who claims to be able to bend spoons with his mind. Margolis (Cleese Enconters, 1992) first met and befriended Uri Geller in 1996. Margolis decided that he would do a biography of the mentalist, with his cooperation but examining all viewpoints. The result reads somthing like an E! Television documentary: friends and schoolmates (including "where are they now" information) recollect Geller's childhood. These accounts are presented to refute the claim by his opponents that Geller created his show in his early 20s. The picture these accounts paint is that of a colorful and turbulent childhood, spent first in Tel Aviv, then Cyprus, and back to Israel for military service. It is in Tel Aviv as a child that Geller reports his first experience with the unknown. This takes the form of an encounter with "a ball of light" in a city garden. A short time after this, the spoons start bending. Geller's family moves to Cyprus when he is 11; there he is remembered for playing mischief by moving the hands of the clocks in the classrooms and always being able to make the difficult shots in basketball. This, Geller contends, is due to his psychokinetic abilities. During his military service, machine gun parts are mysteriously transported from one location to another (and back again), ostensibly via the same method. The author also credits Geller with numerous happenings during the writing of the book, including clocks that fall off the wall in strange ways, laptops that stop working, and, of course, distorted cutlery. There are even parties where anyone can learn how to bend spoons with their mind, with a little help from their hands. An obviously wowed author presents a mostly sympathetic view of the life and times of Uri Geller. (16 photos, not seen) Read full book review >
CLEESE ENCOUNTERS by Jonathan Margolis
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 28, 1992

Life of John Cleese, by a London feature writer, gossip columnist, and show-business reporter. While not a winner, Margolis's account will greatly interest comedy fans. Is Cleese ``the funniest man in the world,'' as Margolis claims? A strong case—drawn from Cleese's 12 scripts and performances for the British supersitcom Fawlty Towers and his script for and performance in A Fish Called Wanda (Britain's most successful film comedy ever), to say nothing of his handcrafted Schweppervescence ads—can be made for this idea. The sad part is that Margolis's opening hundred pages, before Cleese arrives at his leadership of the Monty Python team of writer-actors, are so footslogging—despite the reader's inherent curiosity about Cleese's childhood quirks and the foibles of his young manhood. Cleese was born in dreary Weston-super-Mare, at age 13 reached his adult height of six feet four, and has gone through life as an eccentrically serious man. He set out to be a lawyer but at Cambridge fell into stage comedies that eventually took him on the road with his university troupe, members of which became the nucleus of the Monty Python team. The team's groundbreaking inventiveness rose above satire into a madcap frolicking that broke nearly all barriers to what could be said or shown on British TV. Cleese, however, was not fulfilled by Monty Python, most of whose skits he thinks are dreadfully witless, and set out to craft the absolutely most satisfying TV comedy possible. With his separated wife, Connie Booth, he wrote Fawlty Towers—or rewrote, since most episodes went through ten drafts until every rift was packed with comic ore. Meanwhile, Cleese started up Video Arts, an amazingly successful company that produced seriocomic how-to-run-a-business films. The story of a generally stone-faced, slow-reading polymath whose comic genius takes fans, ballistically, through the roof. (Eight pages of photographs—not seen.) Read full book review >