For over 60 years, spanning from his childhood to the Cold War to the current day, former Israeli paratrooper and Six Day War veteran Uri Geller has been a major enigma. Is he merely one of the most convincing stage magicians in history, a multimillionaire entertainer, courted by presidents and rock stars? Or is the now 67 year-old UK resident the possessor of genuine paranormal powers, which have not only been tested and verified by the most demanding scientific laboratories in the US, but employed by the US and other western powers in secret operations? In July, a sensational new BBC2 documentary by Oscar-winning director Vikram Jayanti aired, bringing to light the most convincing testimony ever heard - much from retired CIA chiefs - that Geller, alongside being one of the most famous people in the world in his day, was, as late as post-9/11, operated as a psychic spy by the US military spymasters and those of other governments. But the revelations in the BBC film are merely the tip of the spooky iceberg according to FT and Observer technology writer Jonathan Margolis, who wrote Geller's biography in the late 1990s.
Much weirder, scientist-documented paranormal phenomena manifested around Uri Geller in secret US government facilities throughout the 1970s and 80s. In The Secret Life of Uri Geller, the always sceptical Margolis tells the full story of how a poor boy from a broken family in the back streets of Tel Aviv went from being a playground sensation whom friends recall as baffling hapless teachers with his strange powers - to a bizarre player in the Cold War superpower mind games of the 1970s, later reactivated for the war on terrorism in this century. To those who remember Geller in his heyday to younger people who have barely heard of him, it is one of the strangest true stories ever told.
Jonathan Margolis is a contributing editor for FT magazines and is a regular writer for The Observer, The Guardian The Daily Mail, BA High Life, Esquire and BA Business Life. He appears regularly on BBC TV and Sky News to discuss topics as diverse as technology and Jewish humour. He is the author of internationally bestselling biographies on John Cleese, Michael Palin and Billy Connolly.