David Copperfield’s History of Magic

S. & S. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781982112912. $35. ARTS
Magician Copperfield, born David Seth Kotkin, first became a performer when he was given a ventriloquist puppet at the age of eight; since then his popularity and skill have skyrocketed. After acquiring the library of magician John Mulholland (1898–1970), which contained more than 20,000 books and journals about magic, Copperfield became a historian as well. Here, Copperfield, Richard Wiseman (Paranormality), and David Britland (Phantoms of the Card Table) detail illusions and magicians throughout history, from English magician Reginald Scot (whose 1584 The Discoverie of Witchcraft spoke out against superstition and witch hunts, and was arguably the first book to describe magic tricks), to Copperfield’s own Death Saw illusion, though he doesn’t disclose the finer details of his act. High-quality color photographs of magicians such as Ching Ling Foo and Max Malini and items housed in the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts enhance the work. Thorough and conversational in tone, the work sheds light on the history of magic, but readers should be warned that Copperfield himself is this book’s primary concern; his opinions and posed photographs of him (by his design director, Liwag) are inescapable.
VERDICT An immersive tour of magic through the ages that will appeal most to readers with a fondness for Copperfield.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing