Review: David Copperfield’s History of Magic

Title: David Copperfield’s History of Magic
Author: David Copperfield, Richard Wiseman, David Britland
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

An illustrated, illuminating insight into the world of illusion from the world’s greatest and most successful magician, capturing its audacious and inventive practitioners, and showcasing the art form’s most famous artifacts housed at David Copperfield’s secret museum.

In this personal journey through a unique and remarkable performing art, David Copperfield profiles twenty-eight of the world’s most groundbreaking magicians. From the 16th-century magistrate who wrote the first book on conjuring to the roaring twenties and the man who fooled Houdini, to the woman who levitated, vanished, and caught bullets in her teeth, David Copperfield’s History of Magic takes you on a wild journey through the remarkable feats of the greatest magicians in history.

These magicians were all outsiders in their own way, many of them determined to use magic to escape the strictures of class and convention. But they all transformed popular culture, adapted to social change, discovered the inner workings of the human mind, embraced the latest technological and scientific discoveries, and took the art of magic to unprecedented heights. 

The incredible stories are complimented by over 100 never-before-seen photographs of artifacts from Copperfield’s exclusive Museum of Magic, including a 16th-century manual on sleight of hand, Houdini’s straightjackets, handcuffs, and water torture chamber, Dante’s famous sawing-in-half apparatus, Alexander’s high-tech turban that allowed him to read people’s minds, and even some coins that may have magically passed through the hands of Abraham Lincoln.

By the end of the book, you’ll be sure to share Copperfield’s passion for the power of magic.


This book is a journey through magical history. Each chapter features one of twenty-eight magicians over the last few centuries who contributed to the history of magic. These magicians used the latest technology to create their illusions, and many of these illusions are still performed today.

Many of the props used in these historical performances are kept in David Copperfield’s history of magic museum. It sounds like a fascinating place to visit. There are props and costumes from the last two hundred years in the museum. Some of the tricks are still a mystery today because the magician’s secret was never revealed.

One thing I found fascinating about this book is that many of the illusions created at least a century ago are still used today. The illusion of sawing someone in half was created in the early 1900s, and it is still a popular performance today. David Copperfield took these illusions to another level by performing them on himself rather than an assistant. It’s amazing how even with our advances in technology, these illusions are still captivating audiences today.

David Copperfield’s History of Magic is a fascinating and entertaining book!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read David Copperfield’s History of Magic? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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