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The Life and Times of The Great Lafayette by John Kaplan – Book


In stock (can be backordered)

“The Most Hated Magician Who Ever Lived!”

Nearly 20 years ago, a wonderful book by renowned magical author Arthur Setterington was introduced… then vanished! (The book’s publisher suffered a stroke, dissolved his business, and the books languished in a warehouse for nearly a decade!!!). A limited number of copies have recently been discovered…

A fascinating account of Houdini’s friend and contemporary during the “Ragtime” era! More than a biography … you’ll be transported back to the early years of the past century and meet all the major players of what was known as “The Golden Age of Variety” and the heyday of magic.

Revelations about Houdini, Horace Goldin, Will Goldston…

Little-known details about many famed magicians of the period, along with accounts of performances, news stories and personal comments by Houdini, Horace Goldin, Carter, P.T.Selbit, Chung Ling Soo, Jasper Maskelyne and others.

Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll discover…

  • Houdini’s “patriotic mystery” and his role during the war effort
  • A surprising revelation concerning the rumor that Chung Ling Soo’s death during the bullet catch was actually a suicide
  • Why Lafayette provoked (and narrowly avoided) a fistfight with the world heavyweight boxing champion
  • What was behind Lafayette’s threatened law suit against Horace Goldin


  • His unnatural, obsessive relationship with his mongrel dog, Beauty (if you thought Houdini’s attachment to his mother was excessive, wait’ll you see this!)
  • Some of the fabricated legends surrounding Lafayette which are still perpetuated as true
  • The unusual ways Lafayette attracted scores of publicity and set the standard for high fees, earning as much as £1000 per week … in 1910!

Find out why Will Goldston referred to Lafayette as “The Most Hated Magician Who Ever Lived” … in spite of the fact that between 150,000 – 200,000 people lined the streets for his funeral!


… what caused it, and how the tragedy could have been prevented
… how a case of mistaken identity resulted in the wrong man being cremated
… how the fire revealed an important clue to Lafayette’s most baffling mysteries

Over two dozen photos, posters and playbill reproductions accompany Setterington’s richly-textured prose, recalling the first decade of the past century in such vivid detail you can almost smell the oil lanterns!

You’ll also learn about …

  • Lafayette’s bizarre internment request
  • The gift Houdini gave Lafayette, and the unusual tribute he bestowed upon his death
  • How Lafayette “fooled them in life – and in death”

OVER A DOZEN LAFAYETTE MYSTERIES REVEALEDLafayette designed all of his own illusions and proudly boasted that he had never bought or sold a trick. There’s the effect Jasper Maskelyne called “one of the most spectacular illusions ever presented by a magician” … you’ll learn all about this Lafayette original … plus how it was done!

Two informative chapters are devoted to illustrated explanations of some of Lafayette’s most popular illusions, including “The Lion’s Bride” – the first time that “The King Of Beasts” had been used in a magic show … foreshadowing the success of Siegfried & Roy by over 50 years!

The Life And Times Of The Great Lafayette is an important chapter about magic and magicians at the turn of thelast century. With the dawning of a brand new millennium, the timing of this discovery couldn’t have been better.EVERY serious student of magic should have a copy of this “link to the golden age of magic” in their library, as itprovides a colorful glimpse into magic the way it was, and more importantly, where it was going. With the lastremaining copies recently uncovered, grabbing a copy before it goes out of print should be your first priority.

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The Life and Times of The Great Lafayette by John Kaplan – Book