Inside Magic Review: One Hundred Years of Sawing

Image of Author Mike CaveneyWe were fortunate enough to be in The Magic Castle the night Mike Caveney presented a lecture on his new book One Hundred Years of Sawing: The Astonishing History of Magic’s Most Iconic Illusion.

Mr. Caveney is the magic world’s scribe and if society was somehow destroyed; thousands of years from now, archeologists would learn all they could know about this epoch from his books.  He knows magic history and, more importantly, loves magic history more than any magician we know.  Future societies will be forced to conclude that magic and its history was our world’s focus.

Sawing is a work of love and a gift to those who love magic.

There were a total of 1,200 editions of the book published.  100 of which are Deluxe Editions.  We have number 390 of the Regular Edition and will proudly keep it on our special magic bookcase; next to the Taschen book, Magic: 1400s – 1950s.  He co-authored that mammoth book with Ricky Jay and Jim Steinmeyer.  Both books are heavy.   Not just in content or tone, but by actual weight (together they weigh 16.6 lbs). We have braced our bookcase and the supporting beams in the wall accordingly.

Sawing brings readers through a wonderful trip through history from the effect’s origins before 1921, its golden era in 1921, the patent litigation over the effect, and its history through our modern day.  It is filled with incredible stories of the magicians who invented, innovated and stole the illusion.  Mr. Caveney treats readers with incredible images at each juncture.  In many cases, these are photos we have never seen.

Put all that together and you can imagine our joy in paging slowly through the book.  It is a very slow read.  Not because it is long but because it is full and detailed.  As far as we can tell, there is not a significant event in the history of this illusion that is not addressed.  Of course, we realize that our knowledge of the trick is now completely informed by Mr. Caveney’s recitation of its history.

In deciding to write a review of the book, we worried that it would either be too short – “we loved it!” – or too long – “on page 129, Mr. Caveney begins to address the development of ….”  That worry persists and is perhaps proven to be valid by the length and depth of this review.

Words do not do justice to the words and images Mr. Caveney presents in this book nor the history he has neatly set before readers.

If you love magic, love history, love the stories of odd but enchanting individuals of magic history, this book is a must read.  Or more correctly, this book is a must have so you can spend hours with it and enjoy all that it provides.

We are so thankful for authors and historians like Mr. Caveney.

Check out his website here.

InsideMagic Review: 5 out 5! 

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