Confession time. Does anyone watch Drunk History? When that show is good, it's sooo good. Though they have had some lame-o episodes. There was an episode where they talk about Houdini and Arthur Conan O'Doyle and it made me laugh an unholy amount. Here's the link, there's probably swearing, so ear buds on if you're at work. Anyway, that episode is the reason that I picked up this book. I wish I had a reason that made me sound smarter but that would be a lie so here we are :)
When Houdini wasn't being the Houdini that we all know him for, he spent a borderline lot of time trying to discredit spiritualists, mediums and the like. This caused a huge amount of strain between him and his friend, Sherlock Holmes' creator Arthur Conan O'Doyle. The tests that these tricksters were put through were rigorous and usually pretty invasive for the women? (Are you hiding something inside of your body to make noise or light or something? We are going to need to check.) Though most of the people are debunked with relative ease the titular "witch of Lime street" sessions got downright creepy AND violent.
I thought there were 2 really compelling things about this book:
1) Learning about Houdini himself. I knew a little bit about Houdini because Wisconsin takes a little claim on him from his time in Appleton but learning about the man himself and what made him tick was really interesting.
2) It was so sad to hear about all of the lives lost in WWI and the family members who were left behind trying to reach them "in the great beyond". Especially the parents whose children were missing in action and couldn't know if they were.
This book was interesting, well researched, and full of interesting characters but it was just.so.long. If it was about 100 pages less it would be a 3, but as it stands it's like a 2.5.
|I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books|