I am so delighted and impressed with this cheerful and charming little book! Its svelteness and readabilty make such a striking contrast to the usual magic history mega-tome fare. And let's face it, most of us are not going to attain "legend" status in magic. It truly makes for a pleasant and much-appreciated divergence from the norm to hear the tale of this non-famous, yet always-working magician.
On the one hand, I can understand the impulse to collect every scrap of information about a historic magician and put it into a single book. Magic history is a really obscure interest, so what are the chances that another volume about any particular magician is ever going to appear? I can see the wisdom of collecting it all in one place. But there are two consequences of this approach which I consider quite poor. One is that it makes the study of magic history a pursuit for the wealthy, when it should be something within the reach of anyone who has any interest in magic at all. The other is that giant, encyclopedic references are not "user-friendly" and cannot realistically be read cover-to-cover, and so tend to end up on shelves rather than in minds.
To expose my own bias on this book, I was the person who drove over to the home of local collector Miller "Dusty" Cravens, gathered up his boxes of Eugene Laurant scrapbooks and ephemera, and shipped them off to Gabe. Having the chance to browse through this giant hodge-podge of material that Gabe had to sort through and organize for his book makes the work all the more praiseworthy in my eyes. Very nicely done, Gabe, and many congratulations to you.