The Magician and the Cardsharp

The Search for America's Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist by Karl Johnson

  • Published: Sep 07, 2020

A famous magician's journey to find the greatest cardsharp ever evokes the forgotten world of magic where Americans found escape during the Great Depression It has the nostalgic quality of an old-fashioned fable, but Karl Johnson's The Magician... read more

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Details of The Magician and the Cardsharp

Exact title of the book
The Magician and the Cardsharp
Book author
Karl Johnson
ISBN
9781466833043
Publisher
Henry Holt and Co.
Published
Jul 25, 2006
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
368
File size (in PDF)
3312 kB

Some brief overview of book

A famous magician's journey to find the greatest cardsharp ever evokes the forgotten world of magic where Americans found escape during the Great Depression It has the nostalgic quality of an old-fashioned fable, but Karl Johnson's The Magician and the Cardsharp is a true story that lovingly re-creates the sparkle of a vanished world. Here, set against the backdrop of America struggling through the Depression, is the world of magic, a realm of stars, sleight of hand, and sin where dreams could be realized - or stolen away. Following the Crash of '29, Dai Vernon, known by magicians as "the man who fooled Houdini," is tramping down Midwestern backroads, barely making ends meet.

While swapping secrets with a Mexican gambler, he hears of a guy he doesn't quite believe is real - a legendary mystery man who deals perfectly from the center of the deck and who locals call the greatest cardsharp of all time. Determined to find the reclusive genius, Vernon sets out on a journey through America's shady, slick, and sinful side - from mob-run Kansas City through railroad towns that looked sleepy only in the daytime. Does he find the sharp?

Well, Karl Johnson did - after years of research into Vernon's colorful quest, research that led him to places he never knew existed. Johnson takes us to the cardsharp's doorstep and shows us how he bestowed on Vernon the greatest secret in magic. The Magician and the Cardsharp is a unique and endlessly entertaining piece of history that reveals the artistry and obsession of a special breed of American showmen.

About author

Johnson, a former editor at the New York Daily News, has written for many major newspapers and periodicals. The Magician and the Cardsharp grew out of an article published in American Heritage magazine. He lives in New York City.

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