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In a hotel somewhere in the Midwest, Howard Thurston's advance man has finished his dogged work for the day and, as dusk falls, he clicks on the lamp and slips a piece of paper into his portable typewriter. He begins to tap out descriptions of tricks for a book he's been dreaming of writing for over a decade. At this moment, in 1928, he doesn't have a title or a publisher, but he's the happiest guy in the world.
Tonight he's eagerly typing up tricks by Al Baker and Ted Annemann, both of whom he saw in New York City a few days earlier. Last week it was miracles by Stewart Judah, S. Leo Horowitz, and Dai Vernon. He spends seven years collecting the most staggering miracles of the day from the most prominent magicians.
Though extremely ill in 1933 and 1934, he keeps this to himself and, despite his precarious health, continues traveling around the country, working for Thurston during the day and collecting tricks for his masterwork in the evening. He types late into the night.
In 1935 John Northern Hilliard died suddenly while in a hotel room in Indianapolis. When the book on which he had worked for so many years, Greater Magic, was eventually published in 1938, hundreds of the tricks Hilliard had collected were nowhere to be found. There was a great hubbub about the missing material. A number of magicians entered the hotel room where he died ... perhaps one of them left with something?
A decade ago a box full of old magic catalogues was sold at an auction in middle America. At the bottom of this box, and not even listed in the contents, were two old notebooks-hundreds of typed pages in brown leatherette bindings. The lost notebooks of John Northern Hilliard had been found.
At 300 over-sized pages, with almost 300 tricks, this magnificent volume is the perfect companion for anyone who has spent happy hours reading Greater Magic. 60 tricks by Al Baker, dozens by Stewart Judah, 10 tricks by S. Leo Horowitz, 30 tricks by Ted Annemann, with hundreds more from Dai Vernon, Cyril Yettmah, Jack Merlin, Gerald Kosky, Eugene Laurent, Ching Ling Foo, Stanley Collins, John Northern Hilliard, Paul LePaul, Michael F. Zens, and many more.