books | Biography & Autobiography | 9780864926777
The Metamorphosis
The Metamorphosis
368 pages
Pub date: October 26, 2012
Rights: World
The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini
Bruce MacNab (Author)

WINNER, APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award

In May of 1896, a young magician from New York City joined the cast of the Marco Magic Company and embarked on a summer-long tour of eastern Canada, including New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It was during this excursion that Handcuff Harry AKA Harry Houdini first showcased the talent that transformed him from a small-time conjurer, who performed for pennies in dime museums, into the world’s most celebrated escape artist. When he wasn’t performing on stage, Houdini was barnstorming through the streets of every town and city he visited, astounding onlookers in police stations, hardware stores, and hospitals by freeing himself from the clutches of every restraining device strapped or wrapped around him. In this absorbing book, enriched by rare, period photographs, Bruce MacNab recounts a fascinating but shockingly untold chapter in the career of the man whose name is still synonymous with the word magic.


“A definitive masterpiece describing the early travelling life of the world’s greatest showman in magic. An explicit ‘diary’ of Harry Houdini during his first Maritime-Canadian tour, filled with details unlike any other historical documents previously published! Exciting and brilliantly written!” — Coral and Peter Reveen, hypnotist, magician, performers, The Man They Call Reveen

“This is a book that will wow the magic world. Not only does it contain a wealth of never-before-published photos, but Bruce MacNab has drilled down into a relatively unknown period of Houdini’s early life and uncovered facts, incidents, and artifacts that rewrite Houdini history. This is one of the most important books ever written about the great escape artist. It’s also just a wonderfully told story. A standing ovation for The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini.” — John Cox, creator of Wild About Harry (

“This is a terrific book. After reading The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini, I was left amazed by all the new details, photos, and juicy tidbits Bruce MacNab has uncovered. This book is well researched and a must-read for anyone interested in Houdini.” — Dorothy Dietrich, The First Lady of Magic, founder/director of The Houdini Museum, Scranton, PA

“No other performer captured the attention and entertained an audience during the vaudeville era as did Houdini. Bruce MacNab has done an amazing job in researching and sharing new information in his book The Metamorphosis. While Houdini toured with Marco the Magician for twelve weeks in 1896 throughout the Maritime provinces, he learned skills in the art of suspense and marketing that helped shape his career and made him the legend he is today. As the proud owner of one of Houdini’s original Metamorphosis trunks, I am sure Houdini would agree that the book deserves a standing ovation.” — Roger Dreyer, CEO, Fantasma Magic and Houdini Museum, New York

"Rarely does a book so well enfold the story of a world-famous person with the cultural history of a region. Almost never is that region the Maritimes. For a first book to do this effectively and with engaging professionalism is truly outstanding." — Chronicle Herald

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