A mature and intelligent biography of one of the most fabulous personalities in the history of the stage -- the greatest escape artist of all time and specialist in mass illusion. Houdini, born Ehrlich Weiss in Appleton, Wisconsin, performer in traveling shows at the age of twelve, apprentice to a looksmith, and handouff ""escape artist"" in the days of ""museum"" shows and beer halls, finally hit the big time with his wife as a partner in 1899. Then came a series of European tours, return to the States and fame. Audiences gasped as Houdini extricated himself from padlocked milk cans submerged in water, the most baffling strait jackets, handcuffs and fetters made by the finest craftsmen in Europe and America, and the vaults and cells of any prison accepting Houdini's dramatic challenge. The vaudeville audiences watched spellbound while this humorless, arrogant man made elephants disappear into thin air, passed himself though brick walls, and repeatedly achieved the impossible. Through this life story the personality of Houdini emerges as a cool, brilliant technician with remarkable physical and intellectual courage, but no supernatural being as he was believed by some to be. Young people and adults will race to the end of the book where some of Houdini's escape tricks are explained. The whole family will want to read this one.