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The Secret Life of Houdini

by William Kalush Larry Sloman

Handcuff King. Escape Artist. International Superstar. Since his death eighty years ago, Harry Houdini's life has been chronicled in books, in film, and on television. Now, in this groundbreaking biography, renowned magic expert William Kalush and best-selling writer Larry Sloman team up to find the man behind the myth. Drawing from millions of pages of research, they describe in vivid detail the passions that drove Houdini to perform ever-more-dangerous feats, his secret life as a spy, and a pernicious plot to subvert his legacy. After years of struggling on the dime museum circuit, Harry Houdini got a break that put him on the front page of a Chicago newspaper. He never looked back. Soon Houdini was performing for royalty, commanding vast sums, and exploring the new power of Hollywood to expand on his legend. At a time when spy agencies frequently co-opted amateurs, Houdini went to London and developed a relationship with a man who would run MI-5. For the next several years, the world's most famous magician traveled to Germany and Russia and routinely reported his findings. After World War I was successfully concluded, Houdini embarked on a battle of his own. He created a group of disguised field operatives to infiltrate the seamy world of fake spirit mediums. In doing so, Houdini triggered the wrath of fanatical Spiritualists, led by the esteemed British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Death threats became an everyday occurrence, but the group would pose an even greater danger to Houdini's legacy. Rigorously researched, and as exciting as a good thriller, The Secret Life of Houdini traces the arc of the master magician's life from desperate poverty to worldwide legend, initiating the reader along the way into the arcane world of professional magic. In this remarkable book, Kalush and Sloman decode a life based on deception, providing an intimate and riveting portrayal of Houdini, the man and the legend.

On the Road with Bob Dylan

by Kinky Friedman Larry Sloman

"The War and Peace of Rock and Roll." --Bob DylanIn 1975, as Bob Dylan emerged from eight years of seclusion, he dreamed of putting together a traveling music show that would trek across the country like a psychedelic carnival. The dream became reality, and On the Road with Bob Dylan is the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at what happened when Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Revue took to the streets of America.With the intimate detail of a diary, Larry "Ratso" Sloman's mesmerizing description of the legendary tour both transports us to a celebrated period in rock history and provides us with a vivid snapshot of Dylan during this extraordinary time. This reissue of the 1978 classic resonates more than ever as it chronicles one of the most glittering rock circuses ever assembled, with a cast that includes Joan Baez, Robbie Robertson, Joni Mitchell, Allen Ginsberg, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, and a wild entourage of groupies, misfits, sinners, and saints who trailed along for the ride. Sloman candidly captures the all-night revelry and musical prowess--from the backstage antics to impromptu jams--that made the tour a nearly mystical experience. Complete with vintage photos and a new introduction by renowned Texas musician, mystery writer, and Revue member Kinky Friedman, this is an unparalleled treat for Dylan fans old and new. Without question, On the Road with Bob Dylan is a remarkable, revealing piece of writing and a rare up-close and personal view of Dylan on tour.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Makeup to Breakup

by Larry Sloman Peter Criss

LEGENDARY founding KISS drummer Peter "Catman" Criss has lived an incredible life in music, from the streets of Brooklyn to the social clubs of New York City to the ultimate heights of rock 'n' roll success and excess. KISS formed in 1973 and broke new ground with their elaborate makeup, live theatrics, and powerful sound. The band emerged as one of the most iconic hard rock acts in music history. Peter Criss, the Catman, was the heartbeat of the group. From an elevated perch on his pyrotechnic drum riser, he had a unique vantage point on the greatest rock show of all time, with the KISS Army looking back at him night after night. Peter Criscuola had come a long way from the homemade drum set he pounded on nonstop as a kid growing up in Brooklyn in the fifties. He endured lean years, street violence, and the rollercoaster music scene of the sixties, but he always knew he'd make it. Makeup to Breakup is Peter Criss's eye-opening journey from the pledge to his ma that he'd one day play Madison Square Garden to doing just that. He conquered the rock world--composing and singing his band's all-time biggest hit, "Beth" (1976)--but he also faced the perils of stardom and his own mortality, including drug abuse, treatment in 1982, near-suicides, two broken marriages, and a hard-won battle with breast cancer. Criss opens up with a level of honesty and emotion previously unseen in any musician's memoir. Makeup to Breakup is the definitive and heartfelt account of one of rock's most iconic figures, and the importance of faith and family. Rock 'n' roll has been chronicled many times, but never quite like this.

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