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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » Carter Beats the Devil (book vs fact) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of filmyak
I'm about a third of the way into this fantastic book which was recommended to me by two independent sources on the same day (is that a sign, or what?),

I'm taking it as mostly fiction, which I believe it's meant to be, and for all I know there's a section at the end that separates truth from fiction. But I haven't gotten that far yet, and I refuse to spoil the ending by jumping ahead! Smile

So, assuming that fact vs. fiction is NOT clearly defined in the book, and that others here have read it, does anyone know which parts are fact, and which are merely entertainment for a book?
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Profile of Payne
There was a magician named Carter and another one named Houdini. There was also a president Harding who died in office. That is about as historically accurate as the book gets. I stopped reading about halfway through as it failed to hold my attention. A factual biography of Carter would have been far more interesting and entertaining than this fantasy of a story.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
M. Perk
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Hilton Head Island
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Profile of M. Perk
You have to admit it's not bad for a first time novelist. Smile
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Profile of DonMarco
I loved this book, but it definitely is fiction. Mike Caveney wrote a wonderful non fictional account of Carter the Great, and other than some of the poster art, it looks like there are very few similarities.

Both books are great though, IMHO
"Imagination is the Only Reality"-- Marquis de Sade
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Profile of leondo
Caveney's book on Charles Carter (Carter the Great)is a true monument in documenting magic history.
It is a wonderful read and an absolute must have for anybody even the least bit interested in magic's past!
Ted (Leondo)
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Profile of Bilwonder
I think this fictional version serves to highlight something truer than "historical" accounts (which are after all just someone's story and "facts" are open to interpretation). Here the author explores the nature of trust, deception, and religion in a kind of comic parable to cause us to re-examine these values, regain some wonder and reconsider where we are in society.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain
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Profile of Hunter
It is fiction, but written well enough to create reader interest. I enjoyed the book as a fictional novel and recommend it to anyone interested in light reading....what it was intended to be.
Scott Ocheltree
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Profile of Scott Ocheltree
I agree with Hunter.
I thought "Carter Beats the Devil" was a great little page turner. I found it fun to read a book intended for the general public that used the golden age of magic as a vehicle. He uses enough magical terminology to keep things feeling authentic without giving away secrets.
It's a well written bit of entertainment, not a biography. The author plays a little fast and loose with history, but it is not intended to be a history book.
The author credit's Caveney's book as a source.
Kaizen Magick
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Profile of Kaizen Magick
I'm trying to loate a copy of Caveney's book about Carter but I even contacted him directly and he doesn't have anymore. Does anyone know of a dealer who carries it?
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Profile of eddieloughran
I too would like to get hold of a copy of Caveney's book.
But I think that more of the story is based on fact (loosely ) than seems so at first glance.

There really were experiments on television that far back, and the bad guy is based on The GREAT LAFAYETTE.

Not being American I don't know to much about vaudeville but there may be in-jokes. Houdini being gay, for instance.

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Profile of Elputty
I've read this book three times I think. I think of it more as a fun book to read over a weekend, as oppossed to having something to actually do with magic. It does tend to inspire me though.

Kaizen Magick
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Torrance CA
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Profile of Kaizen Magick
I agree, Adam. It's a very fun read. And if one really wants to research the facts one can at least use the names of the "historical" characters in the book as a starting point which brings me back to the question:"Does ANYONE know of where I can asquire a
copy of Caveney's Carter biography???? Please......."

Sorry. I got a bit carried away... Did I say "asquire"? I meant "a-c-q-u-i-r-e"..........
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Profile of enriqueenriquez
“Carter Beats the Devil” is a great novel.

It’s very enjoyable. It’s coherent enough to be plausible, without being necessarily historically acurated.
Clifford the Red
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Profile of Clifford the Red
I found the novel fantastic. When I met Glen in Pasadena, Mike was with him. They are friends. Glen is not a magician, but he was able to accomplish the difficult task of presenting magic in a way that satisfied both the layman and magician, all without exposure. He did a great job! While some things may be embellished, as we don't know the character's real thoughts and feelings, there is an amazing amount of accuracy in the book of Carter's life and the era, of which Glen was very proud. For example, Carter did walk his exotic animals in public. The mayor of San Francisco had an ordinance on his desk prohibiting the practice, but he never signed it. In short, if I wanted to read a history book, I would do so. This is entertainment.

It's a bit ironic hearing magicians complaining over accuracy in a presentation!
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
The Magician
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Profile of The Magician
One of the best magic fiction books that I have read in a while
The Magician

Expect the Unexpected
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Profile of ScottLeavitt
I heard they're making it into a movie - anyone know timing or who will be in it?
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Profile of ragingcalm
Great book!
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Profile of oagwood
I enjoyed it, its fun and while not completely historically accurate, it is based on a factual event.

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Profile of magicbob116
Does anyone know how accurately the novel describes the actual "beating the devil" illusion that Carter performed? I assume it was a real illusion because the book title and cover is taken from an actual Carter poster from that era.

Also, regarding what's fact vs. fiction (and please correct me if I'm wrong)... Carter's wife's name was not Annabelle Sarah (it was Corrine and I found no indication that she died tragically), but his lion's name WAS "Baby." Also, he DID own the Martinka magic company for a time and then sold it to Houdini.
B. Robert Pulver

The "I Hate Card Tricks!" Book of Card Tricks Vol. 1, 2, and 3
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Profile of Spellbinder
I see that Magicbob is still intrigued by this story. It shows up as a full fledged trick in his latest book: Sticky Situations... and scroll down to SS-08.
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

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