The Great Houdini (Hardback)
His British Tours
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As featured by the Plymouth Herald: How escapologist Harry Houdini's impossible tricks left Plymouth speechless
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Between 1900 and 1920 Harry Houdini toured Great Britain, extensively visiting many of its major towns and cities. Whilst there, he escaped from jails, jumped from bridges into rivers whilst bound up in chains, performed amazing escapades, tricks and illusions, and delighted everyone who came to see him.
Everywhere he performed, he issued challenges to local workers to either make a chest, box or other contraption from which he wouldn't be able to escape. He was always triumphant and his feats amazed his audiences.
Many of his shows have long since been forgotten and many towns and cities have no knowledge that he once appeared there this compelling book seeks to remedy that.
Houdini was, and remains, the best-known escapologist of all time. At the height of his career, he was the highest paid entertainer in the world.
The Great Houdini: His British Tours successfully pieces together Houdini's appearances using archive material, old newspaper clippings and extensive research. His friendship with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is also documented, along with his involvement with seances and spiritualism.
The book gives the most comprehensive account of his time within the UK and brings to life the excitement and thrills of many of his appearances. It contains many photos and adverts from his shows, some of which have not been seen since they were originally published over 100 years ago, and offers an insight into the life of one of the world's greatest entertainers.
As featured in 'When Harry met and wowed the county', September 2021Whitstable Gazette
As featured inSheerness Times Guardian September 2021
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As featured inDartford Messenger September 2021
Much has been written about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's encounters with Harry Houdini, and while Conan Doyle is mentioned only in passing in Derek Tait's THE GREAT HOUDINI: HIS BRITISH TOURS, the book offers a carefully-researched and enjoyable look at Houdini's appearances in Britain, where he performed in vaudeville theaters at the top of bills that included many other entertainers (audiences definitely got their money's worth in those long-ago days).Doyleans & Sherlockians
A welcome addition to the history of this intriguing American entertainer and magician. The book is well illustrated with pictures both of the man himself and of playbills and advertisements for his performances. The latter add to the attraction of the book by listing many of the other entertainers of the years 1900 to 1920.Associated Wizards of the South
The delightful language of the many quoted newspaper reports also contributes much to this well researched volume. Altogether an interesting and informative read.
Article: Houdini's legendary escape from a tight spot in Cardiff by Brian Lee as featured bySouth Wales Echo, 13th April 2018
As featured in24seven Lifestyle Magazine, August 2017
Tait's purpose of writing this book is quite admirable (to inform the townpeople of British cities that Houdini had once performed there), but the actual content taken from playbills and local newspapers is somewhat hard to parse. Don't get me wrong - there are some real gems of information in here (Houdini being frequently seasick during Atlantic ocean voyages, preferring the challenge of Krupps handcuffs, inviting challenges and making opponents/enemies out of would-be Handcuff Kings, recognizing departed British magicians, bridge jumps, dispelling fraud, milk and water can escapes, the love he has for his pet dogs, visiting Magician Clubs, writing books and appearing in films) - I just find myself wanting to read something more cohesive.GoodReads, Kristine Fisher
One of the greatest books on him in a long time. I have learned a lot more of him. I like the mystery after 91 years we find new things on him.John Hinson, great nephew of Houdini
As featured inNottingham Post
As featured inEvergreen, Winter 2017
The Great Houdini: His British Tours gives the most comprehensive account of his time within the UK and brings to life the excitement and thrills of many of his appearances.Lancashire Evening Post
As featured inBlackpool Gazette
As featured inAntiques Diary, November - December 2017
As featured inPlymouth Herald
This reviewer thoroughly enjoyed this volume, and believes that it will probably appeal to a variety of readers. As it relates to their hero and records a little-known part of his life, ‘Houdini-enthusiasts’ will no-doubt find it of value. Historians and social-science researchers interested in British entertainment and social conditions for the 1900-1920 period could also find it of use. ‘Generalist’ readers seeking an entertaining and informative story may also find it worthy of their attention.NZ Crown Mines
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