This out-of-print book is VERY COLLECTIBLE because of the controversial subject matter.
Houdini's brother Hardeen called this book "a book of lies".
Nevertheless, it is Houdini's life story the way that Houdini and Bess wanted the story told.
During the last twenty or so years of his life, Houdini recorded his life, innermost thoughts and feelings in the form of diaries.
After Houdini’s death, Harold Kellock was hired by Houdini's wife, Bess, as the writer who would share Houdini’s life story with the world. Using Houdini's notes as well as the recollections of Bess, who spent more than thirty years married to Houdini, the author was able to obtain supposed intimate details on Houdini's persona on and off the stage.
This book is the result of that attempt.
It was a huge success.
It is wonderfully illustrated with photographs and other material.
Also included are many explanations to the escapes and magic Houdini performed in his career.
Controversial? Yes, indeed!
Originally published in 1928, this was the first comprehensive biography published about the life of Harry Houdini.
This book also infamously reveals the secret mind reading code that the Houdinis use in their early act.
Before Houdini died, he supposedly made a pact with Bess that, if it was possible to speak from the grave, he would transmit a specific message to her.
Only Houdini and Bess knew that the message was the secret code they had used in their act years before.
This book reveals that secret mind reading code.
So in 1929, When Arthur Ford claimed that he had received a message from Houdini during a seance, this book was entered as evidence that Ford had actually gotten the message from reading the publicly available book rather than from Houdini's spirit!
Houdini His Life Story is the only comprehensive Houdini biography published until William Lindsay Gresham's Houdini The Man Who Walked Through Walls was published in 1959.
Never reprinted after this edition, the book remains out of print to this day.