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Topic: Annemann's Enigma
Message: Posted by: Dr. JK (Sep 10, 2019 01:38PM)
Todd Karr and The Miracle Factory just released this. I purchased it and thought I'd start a discussion here since I haven't seen any other threads about it. I've only scanned the entire thing, though I have read through most of the beginning biographical information. I have a few thoughts, but I'll wait to see what others say before I share. Hope you're loving it!
Message: Posted by: Dr. JK (Sep 11, 2019 08:17AM)
I thought there would be more people who had purchased the book (or had seen this post!). Anyway, my thoughts:

First let me say, I'm a big Annemann fan, as well as a fan of The Miracle Factory. Annemann was such a prolific author, this was a natural extension of The Miracle Factory's portfolio. I ordered this book as soon as I heard it announced! Miracle Factory books are always so well done, with pictures, personal notes, ads, etc. from the time period that make them a delight to read. Todd is amazing at what he does!

My high expectations for the book were confirmed upon arrival and initial impressions. It's an amazing compilation of Annemann's life work. I started reading it, but it will take a looooong time to get through everything in detail. While my impressions were overwhelmingly positive, I had three [admittedly nitpicky] issues:

1. There were two errors in the first ten pages: an obvious misspelling in the preface, then an obvious punctuation error in the forward. No big deal, as it didn't impact the understanding of the passage, but it was disappointing to find at the beginning (when the proofreader should have been fresh). It made me wonder how many other errors could be scattered through the rest of the book. Considering the track record of The Miracle Factory, I have no doubt that these issues are isolated incidents, but it was an unfortunate thing to have them right there at the beginning.

2. They purposefully left out the outdoor bullet catch method. To be clear, I didn't buy this book to learn the bullet catch, and I didn't even know that I wanted to read Annemann's method until I was told in the preface that I couldn't. It's like asking "what's for supper?" with no notions of what you want, but when the cook says "not steak," all you want is steak. One way or the other, I think the ad copy should state that it's purposefully omitted, since it currently says:

[QUOTE]Annemannís Enigma combines hundreds of archival photographs and artifacts with the entire body of writings of the legendary Theodore Annemann (1907-1942), including all his books, articles, and manuscripts.[/QUOTE]

3. The extra files (copy of [i] The Jinx[/i], etc.) are included on CD. I know I'm old-school for buying a physical book anyway, but I don't have a CD drive on a computer anymore...I have some friends with USB CD drives, so I'm sure I'll be able to have access to the files, but in today's world, I feel like there should be a way to digitally distribute these files.

LET ME BE CLEAR: these are all [b]*MINOR*[/b] issues with an otherwise stellar release, and I am in no way disappointed! This is going to be one of my favorite books of all time given my interest in Annemann and mentalism. There are pictures that have never been seen before, private correspondence shared for the first time, and all kinds of extras for all interests.

While Annemann's career was tragically short, he left us with a fantastic legacy, now beautifully presented in this wonderful tome: [i]Annemann's Enigma[/i]. I highly recommend it, and hope you enjoy it as much as me!
Message: Posted by: SethHoward (Sep 11, 2019 12:47PM)
How does it compare to Annemann The Life of a Legend?
Message: Posted by: Dr. JK (Sep 16, 2019 03:44PM)
They're only slightly comparable. Both contain significant amounts of Annemann writings, and both have pictures, but they're not even close to the same, in my opinion.

[i]Annemann: The Life and Times of a Legend[/i] is obviously older, and it shows. The pages look like they were made on an old word processor, with strange margins at times, and not really "inviting" in its layout. The pictures are all in the back on a different stock of paper than the rest of the book. It feels tacked on, and not an integral part of the presentation of the material. Each trick does not have its own page start, so it's not easy to read. Yes, it's a large compilation of Annemann material, but it isn't a treasure I return to again and again.

Contrast that with [i]Annemann's Enigma[/i]. This book has a beautiful layout with paper that highlights the text and photos, spacious margins, and pictures interspersed throughout the related text. Everything is laid out with precision and order, and most of the books within have a similar format to their original publication. That way, it's easy to see where one trick ends and another begins. In addition, [i]Annemann's Enigma[/i] includes a full searchable copy of the Jinx, while [i]Life and Times of a Legend[/i] does not.

All that said, I own both books and will likely keep both on the shelf. If I didn't own either, I'd definitely save up and buy the new Miracle Factory version - it's a vastly more enjoyable book to read. I have no doubt it will be one of my favorites on the shelf!