The Right Way to do Wrong
by Harry Houdini
Published in 1906
Thibault’s Score: 2/5
Famous magician and escape artist Harry Houdini wrote several books at the turn of the last century. This book covers the tactics and careers of successful ill doers such as burglars, beggars, pickpockets, spiritualists, fortune tellers, etc…
The book was written by Houdini to earn some extra cash on his magic tours, and he was helped by interviewing former criminals and police chiefs.
The writing style is simple and unelaborated to the point of becoming slightly childish. Despite being easy to read, I found that the lack of detail in each chapter makes the book kind of dumb. However, because Houdini is writing in a phone without modern communication technology, it does serve as a useful historical document.
A lot of the information seems slightly stupid and inaccurate. For example Houdini alleges that, because burglars are superstitious, they believe black cats are bad luck, and if one’s black cat is found dead or poisoned it means that one’s house will be burglarized soon.
After reading about half the book, I got the general idea, and quit reading it. This book isn’t horrible, but it just isn’t very interesting or relevant to me.
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