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Dai Vernon: A Biography

His medium was magic and Vernon turned the clandestine world of conjuring on its ear with virtuoso sleight-of-hand and a dogged pursuit for perfection.

Born in 1894 in Ottawa, the son of a Canadian civil servant, Vernon moved to Manhattan in 1915 and never looked back.  Miracles flowed from his fingertips – effortlessly. The source of his secrets:  the underbelly of gamblers and hustlers that roamed back-room dens of iniquity, jail cells and city streets of America.  Vernon sought them out, befriended them and made their secrets his.  This book traces the first half of this remarkable journey – Ottawa, Coney Island, Manhattan, Chicago, Havana, Kansas City, Colorado Springs – and the celebrities – Houdini, Billy Rose and Roosevelt – that Vernon encountered along the way.

Dai Vernon: A Biography also details the evolution of magic in the twentieth century. From the stages of London and Paris to the backrooms of magic emporiums where secrets are bought and sold, Vernon’s life and work escort the reader through vaudeville, Broadway theatres, grand magic spectaculars, New York nightspots and the dawn of television.  At last, the cornerstone of the craft has been unveiled for all to see.

Hardbound, 366 pages with over 40 rare photographs and a full-color dust jacket.

Dai Vernon: A Biography is available from Squash Publishing for $39 USD plus postage.


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The Man Who Fooled Houdini (.pdf)
Over The Rainbow (.pdf)
Dai Vernon: A Legacy of Magic (.pdf)

Book Information | Cataloguing in Publication

Ben, David
Dai Vernon : a biography : artist, magician, muse, 1894-1941 / David Ben.

Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-9780675-0-9

1. Vernon, Dai, 1894-1941. 2. Magicians–Canada–Biography. 3. Magic– History–20th century. I. Title.

GV1545.V47B45 2006 793.8092 C2006-902473-1