East City Bookshop welcomes award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Joe Posnanski as he discusses his latest book, The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini, with New York Times bestselling author and NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour host Linda Holmes.
Award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Joe Posnanski enters the world of Harry Houdini and his legions of devoted fans in an immersive, entertaining, and magical work on the illusionist’s impact on American culture—and why his legacy endures to this day.
Harry Houdini. Say his name and a number of things come to mind. Escapes. Illusions. Magic. Chains. Safes. Live burials. Close to a century after his death, nearly every person in America knows his name from a young age, capturing their imaginations with his death-defying stunts and daring acts. He inspired countless people, from all walks of life, to find something magical within themselves.
This is a book about a man and his extraordinary life, but it is also about the people who he has inspired in death. As Joe Posnanski delves into the deepest corners of Houdini-land, visiting museums (one owned by David Copperfield), attractions, and private archives, he encounters a cast of unforgettable and fascinating characters: a woman who runs away from home to chase her dream of becoming a magician; an Italian who revives Houdini’s most famous illusion every night; a performer at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles who calls himself Houdini’s Ghost; a young boy in Australia who, one day, sees an old poster and feels his life change; and a man in Los Angeles whose sole mission is life has been to keep the legend’s name alive.
Both a personal obsession and an odyssey of discovery, Posnanski draws inspiration from his lifelong passion for and obsession with magic, blending biography, memoir, and first-person reporting to examine Harry Houdini’s life and legacy. This is the ultimate journey to uncover why this magic man endures, and what he still has to teach the world about wonder.
Joe Posnanski is the author of four books including the No. 1 New York Times bestseller Paterno. In a 30-year career as a sportswriter for Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports, Major League Baseball and the Kansas City Star among other publications, he was named National Sportswriter of the Year by five different organizations and has won two Emmy Awards. He has been anthologized widely. Joe lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife Margo, daughters Elizabeth and Katie, and poodle Westley.
Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for National Public Radio and the host of the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which has held sold-out live shows in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, and elsewhere. She appears regularly on NPR’s radio shows, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Before NPR, she wrote for New York magazine online and for TV Guide, as well as for the influential website Television Without Pity. In her free time, she watches far too many romantic comedies, bakes bread, watches her nephews get taller, and recently knitted her first hat. Evvie Drake Starts Over is her first novel.