A subject of undeniable fascination, the story of magic and magicians of reknown is treated here with sanity and understanding. The lives and best-known feats of such men as Robert-Houdin, Harcourt the Great, Thurston, and Houdini are recounted in detail. Throughout the text the author stresses both in his own words and in quotations from the magicians about whom he writes that this is a world of skill and facility, not of occult power. And in removing the trembling veil from the magician's stage, he elevates the magician himself to the position he merits -- that of the consummate and dedicated performer. And for the young apprentice, Bill Severn includes an appendix of magic tricks to be done at home.