The Magic Island

By: Seabrook, W[illiam]. B.

Price: $250.00

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Near Fine in Very Good dj

(price-clipped) [good solid clean copy, light shelfwear; jacket has a few tiny nicks and horizontal creasing along top edge, still bright and attractive]. (B&W plates, photographs) Seabrook's notorious fascination with all things weird and forbidden took him to Haiti, where he soaked up the local culture (and probably a fair amount of the local booze) and regurgitated it into this book, which introduced the reading public (at least in America) to the subject of voodoo and set off a bit of a zombie craze (cf. WHITE ZOMBIE, the Bela Lugosi movie, released in 1932). Included in his narrative is the story of Faustin Wirkus, the young U.S. Marine Sergeant who "reigned" for several years as King of the small Haitian island of La Gonve, which so caught the public's imagination that within a couple of years he'd written his own book, "The White King of La Gonave." (By a remarkable non-coincidence, I happen to have a copy of this book for sale as well.) Seabrook may not be the most reliable reporter -- even as early as 1940 one reviewer called it "one of the most dubious treatises on Haiti ever produced, yet it has been translated into Czech, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish, and even in Port au Prince they have it around, although the average well-educated Haitian winces and turns a couple of shades paler at mere mention of the name" -- but it's hellishly entertaining, and for decades thereafter Hollywood's zombies looked and acted very much like Seabrook's. This is the second printing of the first edition, featuring the original wraparound-art dust jacket, which although unsigned was quite probably executed by Alexander King, who also provided the striking illustrations that accompany the text. This particular jacket is exeedingly scarce; the more common Literary Guild edition of the book used a generic, non-pictorial version, and although this original design was retained (with an added text slug on the front panel) for the Blue Ribbon Books reprint, jacketed copies of that, too, are seldom seen.

Title: The Magic Island

Author: Seabrook, W[illiam]. B.

Illustrator: Illustrated by Alexander King

Categories: Non-Fiction (General),

Edition: 2nd printing

Publisher: New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company: (c.1929)

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Near Fine in Very Good dj

Seller ID: 17004

Keywords: Voodoo Haiti Witchcraft Superstition