The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam Paperback – Sep 4 2007
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*Starred Review* Fleming's great-grandfather, Long Tack Sam, began life in a nineteenth-century Chinese village and died more than 70 years later in Austria. In between, he performed as a world-class magician and lived for significant portions of time on every continent except Africa and Antarctica. Fleming herself, born a year after his death, invested time, money, and travel in exploring her great-grandfather's story or, more accurately, the versions of his biography provided by far-flung relatives, fellow magicians, and former neighbors. Presenting both her search and what she found in a pastiche of succinctly written narrative (lots of it), cartoon drawings, old handbills, clippings, and photos, Fleming successfully shows how dramatic the role of international politics in a particular person's life can be. In the case of Long Tack Sam, both world wars, U.S. and Canadian laws written to bar Chinese immigrants, and the rise and fall of vaudeville as popular entertainment shaped, shifted, colored, and textured daily existence. Fleming makes that kaleidoscope of influences accessible and virtually tangible, not only as they formed Long Tack Sam but also on her own essence. Very appealing for biography readers, twentieth-century world-history buffs, and comics enthusiasts alike. Goldsmith, Francisca
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Top Customer Reviews
I felt the layout was done very well, especially the combination of the illustrations, comic styles, photographs, and time-lines. The time-lines helped keep perspective/context as to what else was going on during that period of Long Tack Sam’s life. The story itself was interesting, and when there were conflicting bits of information, the author did a great job at discussing the likelihood of each.
My only complaint is that I didn’t feel like I got enough of a grasp of the acrobatic and magician side of things. I was expecting to learn some secrets of the trade, and although some are revealed, I was thirsty for more.
Recommended for history buffs, those interested in Chinese history and culture, circus lovers, and those that want to read a good book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
worth researching and remembering. The confusing, conflicting details of family memories are presented in a creative way
and the multiple perspectives are woven together with history, bystanders, Fleming and family in a compelling and funny presentation that wins you over only a few pages in.