The only biography of the master magician and spy instructor John Mulholland including his work for the CIA.
"John Mulholland is surely one of the most fascinating personalities in magic history. For his work to advance conjuring as a recognized art, he deserves tremendous respect, and no serious student of magic will want to skip this book." - Michael Claxton, Magic Magazine, Feb 2009.
"I can even imagine him up in heaven huddling with Christopher, Houdini, Blackstone and Thurston as they discuss your biography. Their applause is loud enough to be heard on planet Earth." - Maurine Brooks Christopher
"I am an avid reader of books, all types of books, but not since Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code have I been so engrossed in a book that I could not put it down. A new book called The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret Life by Ben Robinson was just released and I have to tell you, it's one of the best books on a magician's life I have ever read. This is so good I even gave it to my wife to read, and she could not put it down. (I should have bought two copies!)." - Paul Romhany (For Paul's full review go here.)
This book is now also available as audiobook. Listen to the first half of the first chapter. Includes 10 unpublished letters to and from Mulholland.
THE MAGICIAN: John Mulholland's Secret CIA Life
is drawn from never-before-seen documents and includes many unpublished photographs. A total of 80 photos are reproduced. It will appeal to readers of theatre, magic and war history.
It comes with a foreword by the legendary Dr. John N. Booth, who writes:
"Ben Robinson has thoughtfully and beautifully synthesized the pile of personal notes and documents which is the legacy passed from John Mulholland to Milbourne Christopher, to Maurine Christopher and finally to author Robinson. No better foundation exists for learning what made John Mulholland into magic's most influential voice in the 20th century. This book tells that story."
(1898-1970) edited the magician's magazine The Sphinx
for 23 years, ending the publication to be consultant to the newly born CIA in 1953. His assignments included working with billionaires and inventors, cracking codes and delving into the clandestine world of ESP research, LSD use and the secret MK-ULTRA world headed by the notorious Dr. Sidney Gottlieb.
During this period, CIA Dr. Frank Olson died the day after Thanksgiving, 1953. This book examines Mulholland's role during this dramatic period in the CIA's history and goes against the current trend of accusing Mulholland as having a role in Olson's fatal fall from a hotel window.
John Mulholland was "The World's Master Magician." He performed in forty-two countries, authored ten books and performed at the Roosevelt White House eight times. His 90-minute stage show was carried in two suitcases and included impersonations of authentic Hindu and Chinese mysteries. Theatre critics spoke about him as they did a great actor.
John Mulholland was an intellectual patriot who provided an essential component of counter espionage during the Cold War's Red Scare.
THE MAGICIAN: John Mulholland's Secret Life is the first biography of the man Dr. John N. Booth defines in his Foreword as "the most influential voice of the art of magic in the 20th century."
In the foreground Ben Robinson is seen at the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. on October 20, 2009. In the background, H. Keith Melton, one of the authors of the new CIA release of John Mulholland's writing for the Agency from the 50's. Melton and Robert Wallace co-authored the introduction to Mulholland's writing, renamed The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception. Robinson was invited by Melton, to be acknowledged for his original research into Mulholland during their world premiere.
1st edition 2008; 263 pages. 2nd edition 2010; 305 pages.
word count: 81770 which is equivalent to 327 standard pages of text