Download E-books The Magician and the Cardsharp: The Search for America's Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist PDF

By Karl Johnson

Book Details:

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: 2006-07-25
Number of Pages: 368
Website: Amazon, LibraryThing, Google Books

Synopsis from Amazon:

A recognized magician's trip to discover the best cardsharp ever conjures up the forgotten global of magic the place americans came across get away through the nice Depression

It has the nostalgic caliber of an old school fantasy, yet Karl Johnson's The Magician and the Cardsharp is a real tale that lovingly re-creates the glint of a vanished global. the following, set opposed to the backdrop of the United States suffering during the melancholy, is the area of magic, a realm of stars, sleight of hand, and sin the place desires will be learned - or stolen away.

Following the Crash of '29, Dai Vernon, identified by means of magicians as "the guy who fooled Houdini," is tramping down Midwestern backroads, slightly making ends meet. whereas swapping secrets and techniques with a Mexican gambler, he hears of a man he doesn't rather think is genuine - a mythical secret guy who bargains completely from the guts of the deck and who locals name the best cardsharp of all time. decided to discover the reclusive genius, Vernon units out on a trip via America's shady, slick, and sinful aspect - from mob-run Kansas urban via railroad cities that regarded sleepy simply within the daylight hours. Does he locate the pointy?

Well, Karl Johnson did - after years of study into Vernon's colourful quest, study that led him to locations he by no means knew existed. Johnson takes us to the cardsharp's doorstep and indicates us how he bestowed on Vernon the best mystery in magic. The Magician and the Cardsharp is a special and eternally interesting piece of heritage that unearths the artistry and obsession of a distinct breed of yank showmen.

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It was once the shrewdpermanent play since it intended accommodating a guy named John Lazia, who, like Pendergast, had risen from the streets to a place of strength nearly equivalent to that of the boss himself. (Pendergast was once deft at bringing power opponents into his operation, notwithstanding the associated fee used to be no longer frequently as excessive as keep watch over over the law enforcement officials. ) Lazia most likely encouraged extra speedy worry than the avuncular Pendergast, rather a lot in order that Boss Tom, who as a tender guy was once whatever of a bruiser, took to wearing a gun every time he needed to take care of Lazia. certainly, the mob leader used to be so feared in Kansas urban that even fifty years after he and Charlie Miller had rooted round downtown, a long time after Lazia’s personal violent finish, Vernon nonetheless insisted on calling him via one other identify, a fictitious deal with that he created. And Vernon had by no means even met Lazia. although he now got here shut. via appearance—Lazia was once thirty-five in 1932—he made for an not likely mob boss. He was once mild, wore glasses, and chewed gum consistently. occasionally he attempted to chop a dapper determine, donning spats and wearing a strolling stick. He used to be smart, well-spoken, and well mannered, in particular to girls. His henchmen stated him lovingly as Brother John. yet Lazia’s path to the pinnacle of the legal underworld were marked through ruthlessness coupled with an alarming audacity. A son of a good Italian immigrant relations, he had faithfully following the traditional profession music of ward gofer within the Pendergast computer while he introduced a coup on his domestic turf, the Italian North aspect, in 1928. via a sequence of high-level kidnappings, Lazia had deposed the longtime Pendergast lieutenant who oversaw the district. instead of visit struggle, Boss Tom correctly took him in, and within the subsequent couple of years conferred more and more extensive powers at the imaginitive upstart. Lazia’s major task was once to supervise the playing operations on the town. Vernon by no means even attempted to get close to Boss Tom. (It’s enjoyable to photograph him giving it a shot. Pendergast acquired supplicants 3 mornings every week from six until eventually midday at 1908 major. each person, it doesn't matter what their station, was once disbursed ten mins, and Vernon may actually have got a listening to, if for no different cause than the leisure price. ) yet after he and the silent Miller struck out once more at one other of the nameless rough-and-tumble joints, Vernon used to be taken apart by means of a cheater and instructed that the one approach he used to be going to get a line in this unknown magician of a cardsharp used to be to invite John Lazia. Who the hell is that? Vernon virtually snapped, betraying simply how a lot he relatively used to be now not “with it” in Kaw city. Lazia’s the boss of the rackets, this beneficial hustler advised him. He’s the guy who oversees the entire playing on the town, the czar of crime, the “Al Capone of Kansas urban. ” If someone might, he will be in a position to run down this heart broker. Vernon requested the place he might locate Lazia. “Well, you can’t,” the hustler shot again, his flip now to snap. “You’ve received to be despatched in through the best man. ” really, Vernon was once in the direction of Lazia than he knew.

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