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A new book brings one of magic’s greats back to life.

David Copperfield has earned a pretty penny through magic. That David Blaine guy was popular for a while too. But there’s no magician more famous than Harry Houdini. The real question is: Was he the best, as history would have us believe?

Not according to The Last Greatest Magician in the World: Howard Thurston Versus Houdini & the Battles of the American Wizards (Jeffrey P. Tarcher/Penguin, $27). In the book, author Jim Steinmeyer makes a very convincing case that Howard Thurston is the name that we should know best. Thurston, who died in 1936, was better known during his performing years than his contemporary, Houdini. But, as much as he wowed audiences back in the day, he didn’t create a lasting brand. That talent was Houdini’s alone.

Something of a magic man himself, Steinmeyer makes readers feel like they’re in the theater watching Thurston perform. The more they learn about the forgotten illusionist, the more they’ll root for him to win the wizard battle. More than 70 years after Thurston’s passing, this book may have the power to help him do just that.



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The Sherlockian by Graham Moore (Twelve, $25)
"Arthur Conan Doyle curled his brow tightly and thought only of murder."