Dai Vernon: the last great undiscovered artist of the 20th century. His medium was magic and with it, 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 New York - Manhattan - in 1915, and never looked back. Miracles flowed from his fingertips - effortlessly. The source of his secrets? The underworld and the gamblers, husters and con-men that roamed back-room dens of iniquity, bunked in jail cells and walked the streets of America. Vernon sought them out, befriended them, and made their work, their covert methods, his. This book, the first in-depth examination of Vernon's life, traces the first half of his remarkable journey - through Ottawa, Coney Island, Chicago, Manhattan, Kansas City and 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 20th century. From the stages of London and Paris to the back rooms of magic emporiums where secrets were bought and sold, Vernon's life and work escort the reader through vaudeville, Broadway theaters, grand magic spectaculars, New York nightspots and the dawn of television. Here, cornerstones of the craft have finally been laid bare for all to see.
"...fascinating and fast-moving biography...Ben takes care to present the story here to appeal to insiders and laymen alike." The Washington Post
"A detailed and humanizing portrait of a genius and the age that hailed him as its conquering hero." MAGIC Magazine
"This book is a compelling read and an example of scholarship that will likely survive as the Vernon biography. It surely ranks among the very best of magic biographies and autobiographies given us to enjoy." M.U.M. Magazine
"David Ben brings this new character back from history and very much to life in his marvelous tale. Combining meticulous research, a deep understanding of the workings of magic, and broad insight into magic's artistic history, Mr. Ben turns out to have been an ideal candidate to assume the undeniably daunting task of telling magicians a story of immense importance." Genii Magazine