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Subject: alt.magic FAQ part 2/4
This article was archived around: 02 Feb 1998 15:54:41 -0500
Frequently asked questions in alt.magic/part2 (of 4)
Last modified: Fri Nov 7 16:53:21 EST 1997
V. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF BOOKS ON MAGIC
Bibliography of Books on Magic
Originally compiled by Scott Duncan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reorganized and expanded by Robin Dawes (email@example.com)
Please mail additions and corrections to Paul Nielsen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[BB] email@example.com (Bruce Barnett)
[BD] Bruno.Degiovanni@CSELT.STET.IT (Bruno Degiovanni)
[CR] firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris Ragaisis)
[DH] email@example.com (Dave Hunt)
[DL] firstname.lastname@example.org (Donald P. Leaman)
[DM] email@example.com (David H. MacFarlane)
[DP] firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Peters)
[E?] 2j8gap$8j1@senator-bedfellow.MIT.EDU (Eric ?)
[FD] email@example.com (?)
[GH] NHJV85A@prodigy.com (Gary E. Hunt)
[HS] firstname.lastname@example.org (Henry E. Schaffer)
[HM] HCM100@psuvm.psu.edu (Sleight of Hans)
[JB] email@example.com (Jerry Blackerby,CS/D,x77810)
[JC] firstname.lastname@example.org (J Randolph Cox)
[JG] email@example.com (Jeremy Greystoke)
[JM] firstname.lastname@example.org (Jill Marci)
[MK] email@example.com (Mike Kamlet)
[PN] firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul Nielsen)
[RD] email@example.com (Robin Dawes)
[SD] firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Duncan)
[SFD] email@example.com (Stan F. Davis)
[TN] tnielson@spock.NMSU.Edu (Thorin Nielson)
[RG] firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Granville)
Read a good magic book recently? If you would like to write a review for
the FAQ, send 1) the book title, 2) the author, 3) the year of publication,
4) the publisher, 5) the category, and 6) a brief review to
3. For the Beginner
4. Card Magic
5. Coin Magic
6. Card & Coin Combinations
8. Other Magic
10. Business Issues in Magic
11. Performing for Children
Ammar, Michael The Magic of Michael Ammar
(1991, L&L Publ.)
[SD] Very nicely executed book of effects and magic "philosophy."
Starting with an entire stand-up Cups and Balls routine, the book
includes "utilities," "restaurant" effects, other "stand-up" effects,
"magic management," as well as various chapters of philosophy and
advice. In a chapter on "classic renditions," you'll find the "Crazy
Man's Handcuffs" (i.e., rubber bands that seem to melt through one
another) which seems to be a favorite of many folks.
[RD] I use the "C. M. Handcuffs" all the time. There is a heavy
overlap between this book and Mr. Ammar's previous publications (such
as "Command Performance") but if you don't have all of those, this is
a recommended purchase.
Bannon, John Impossibilia
(1990, L&L Publ.)
[SD] A variety of nice stuff with cards, coins, cups. Easy to
Bennett, Horace On Your Feet
[RD] Mr. Bennett was considered one of the best of his day. In this
small book he details his handlings for 8 routines that can be done
while standing (though some require a table). Included are sponge
balls, a matrix type effect, ring on wand, etc.
Bertram, Ross Magic and Methods
[DP] - for someone out there this is a good book, but not for me.
- some excellent coin effects, chapter on sleeving.
- terrific stories about Dai Vernon, etc.
- good egg-bag routine
Carney, John Carney Knowledge
[RD] Mr. Carney has a more recent, much larger book out titled
"Carneycopia" that probably subsumes this booklet. Here he presents
ten or so effects with cards, coins, crystals, toy mice, etc., and
intersperses them with brief musings on the design and presentation of
magic. Mr. Carney is a student of Dai Vernon, and it appears he has
learned well. The theoretical essays made the booklet worthwhile for
Close, Michael Workers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
(1990-1996, Michael Close)
[MK] Workers 1: Close's first book contains his origami bunny,
Dr. Strangetrick (his version of card warp with a bill), and the pothole
trick. Some feel the pothole effect is worth the price of the book. Mike
gives you detailed instructions and all of his patter...
[MK] Workers 2: This time Mike gives you his 'rubik bill', The el Cheapo
magic set a ring and string effect, and the frog prince (it's much more
than a card trick). There are other effects included as well as his
handling for a spread force.
[MK] Workers 3: Includes essays on patter, presentation, motivation
audience management....He gives his techniques for palming and methods for
learning how to palm -- not just hold the card this way. There's another
origami trick and some card effects. It's good reading.
de la Torre, Jose Magicana of Havana
(1975, de la Torre)
[SD] Interesting routines based on some familiar themes, including
effects using jumbo (oversized) cards.
Elliott, Bruce Magic as a Hobby
(1951, Faber & Faber)
[RD] A great book for beginning to intermediate students of the art.
Much of the material comes from the Phoenix magazine, but is still
current. Has chapters on cards, coins, miscellaneous, mentalism,
etc., and a fine essay on developing magical presentation. Also
includes (with permission) the complete money act that Mike Bornstein
used to perform on stage.
Elliott, Bruce Classic Secrets of Magic
(1953, Faber & Faber)
[RD] Devotes a chapter each to such perennials as the Ambitious Card,
Multiplying Billiard Balls, Cups and Balls, Two Covers and Four
Objects (Elliott seems to have been ahead of his time in eschewing the
politically incorrect name usually given to this trick), 4 Aces, and
so on. All extremely practical material that will require some
Fox, Karrell AbraKfox
[MK] This is a small book by Fox that includes some tricks and some stories.
Karrell wrote it as a tribute to Duke Stern. His rope tie, and the Guatelma
rope trick are included.
Gardner, Martin Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic
(1978, Magic, Inc.)
[PN] Tricks with no special apparatus, gimmicks, or involved
preparation. Lots of wonderful stuff. This is being sold by Klutz
Press since Martin Gardner was one of the consultants on the Klutz
Book of Magic.
Gardner, Martin Martin Gardner Presents
(1993, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] A large collection of previously published material from when
Gardner was a boy through adulthood, covering the years from the 30's
through the 90's. Cards occupy a large part of the material as do
effects based on counting and math "tricks." However, there is
material here with coins, ice, sponge balls, thimbles, handkerchiefs,
as well as mentalism (though mostly related to math/counting).
[DP] Martin has published several books on mathematical magic,
impromptu magic, and the "Uriah Fuller" parodies of Uri Geller. Some
of his pamphlets have a lot of gags and funny bits which are still
being used. His earlier stuff collects a lot of material from all over
the place, and he notes creators and originators often. His his
knowledge is encyclopedic, but it may not include "heavy" work. I
don't remember him writing about cards that much.
Harkey, David Simply Harkey
(1991(?), Clandestine Productions)
[SD] The work of David Harkey has stuff in it that looks "impossible"
but which, when you see him lecture, is very impressive. Then, you
find out it isn't as hard as it looks. On the other hand, the
explanations of some of these (like his "crystal transformation"
effect) sound more complex than they turn out to be in practice. (Not
because the explanations are poor, but because there is a lot going on
sometimes. It is not easy stuff to do because of that rather than
because the individual things done are particularly hard.) I like
this book mostly for the card and coin stuff, though his "Goldfinger
Trilogy" (with a finger ring) and "Sweet Talk" (with a coin and sugar
packet) are neat as well.
Herz, Bill and Paul Harris Secrets of the Astonishing Executive
(1991, Avon Books)
[MK] I know it's written for the general lay audience, but there
are some interesting things in it. (Although you probably know most of
what in there) It uses simple principles to use in the office or at
business lunches. It includes some mental stuff based on Max Maven
effects, the Mac King creamer bit..
Kaufman, Richard 5 X 5
(19??,Kaufman & Greenberg)
[Rashid] Five Japanese magicians each of whom disclose five of their pet
close-up effects. These range from impromptu coin and card tricks to
tricks employing some very ingenious and easily constructed gimmicks.
The material is really fresh and innovative. It's been a long time
since I came across a book on close-up that contained material I could
get excited over - creative effects that can really make an audience
sit up and take notice. My favorite effects are:
- An ambitious card routine where you put a paper clip on the card, bury
it, and with a shake of the hand the paper clipped card is back on top.
- A beautifully startling effect where an empty, flattened out card case is
folded into its original box shape and then with no false moves, the box
is opened and a deck of cards is dumped out.
- A card warp type of effect where a dollar bill that has been folded
lengthwise into 1/4 its original width is pushed through another dollar
bill (a la card warp). When it emerges on the other side it has started
to unfold itself. Each time it is pushed through it has magically
unfolded a little more till it unfolds completely and is then immediately
handed out for examination.
Kaufman, Richard Amazing Miracles of Shigeo Takagi
(19??,Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] Nice mixture of stuff -- including silk, rope, and ring effects
plus the usual card magic -- from one of Japan's foremost magicians.
Kaufman, Richard Collected Almanac
(?, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[DP] Includes such favourites as Sankey's Airtight & Forgery,
Dingle's handling of the Jennings' classic Visitor, the Stencel Aces,
Hamman's Signed Card & Twins, etc.
Kaufman, Richard Richard's Almanac Volume 1
(19??, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] A book covering Kaufman's magazine for 1982-83 with effects from
many folks on many topics.
[DP] a good book - a wealth of close-up material.
Kaufman, Richard Sawa's Library Volume 1
(?, Kaufman & Greenburg)
[DP] - the coin effects are beyond me (back-pinch four quarters? right!)
- the sponge-ball stuff looks really good
- the rope magic is excellent
- the gaffed cards are intact
Kaufman, Richard Showtime at the TomFoolery
(?, Kaufman & Greenburg)
[MK] This book describes Tom Mullica's act that he did at the Tom
Foolery. Each effect (except the cigarette and napkins) is explained
in incredible detail. The style of the book is a bit unusual since it
describes Mullica's action during each minute of the show. (They have
a time order..) There are stories in it too, and it is fun reading.
Kronzek Book of Magic for Young Magicians -
The Secrets of ALKAZAR
[SFD] A real surprise! good sections on misdirection, on how to make a
card trick interesting (including '15 ways to have a card chosen'), on
how to present and routine a trick. Not just for children.....
Kurtz, Gary Unexplainable Acts
[CR] This is a GREAT book. Unfortunately, it's very Kurtz, the
material is fairly difficult. The sleights are explained well, but
NOTHING in this book will be performed immediately. You're going to
have to work at it. There is a mixture of close up and platform stuff
in there, with some pretty weird ideas. I recommend that you scope a
copy of this book BEFORE you buy it. My two favorite routines in the
book are ones where you drop a apple into a rolled up sheet of
construction paper. You immediately roll out an orange. The paper is
then unrolled and shown. The other is a bill vanish, cigar production
(still wrapped in cellophane), hand the cigar to a spectator. She
opens the cellophane, breaks the cigar in half and discovers a bill
_inside_ the cigar. This is shown to be the missing bill.
Marlo, Edward M. I. N. T.
(198?, L&L Publ.)
[SD] Ed Marlo's magic collected from material presented in now out-
of-print magazine sources.
[RD] The title is an acronym for Marlo In New Tops, I think.
Marlo, Edward Marlo's Magazine Volume 1
(1976, Ed Marlo)
[SD] Really a large book of many effects. However, as he says in the
Foreword, he wanted to "say something" besides talk about routines and
effects. So he makes "editorial points" throughout the book. I like
to read about how magicians think (and what they think about) when it
comes to magic. There's lots of card magic here as well as the
Minch, Stephen Korem Without Limits
(19??, A.D. Robbins Publ.)
[SD] Reasonably good collection of intermediate magic -- not
everything caught my attention -- with reasonably good photographs
Minch, Stephen Ken Krenzel's Close-Up Impact
(1990, Hermetic Press)
[SD] Krenzel is a "thinking person's" magician with a reputation for
exploring the psychology of effects. The fact that he's a
psychologist -- it's Dr. Krenzel -- explains that partially. Not all
this stuff has the impact that the title claims -- at least, I've seen
him lecture and wasn't overwhelmed.
Ouellet, Gary The Masters of Magic Series
(various dates, Camirand Academy of Magic)
[SD] Ouellet covers many routines with cards, shells and pea, coin
penetrations, cups and balls, etc. One routine per monograph.
[RD] These are generally well-written and produced. These are the ones
I've read: The Coin Connection - excellent routine from Eric DeCamps
Supershells - a 3-shell routine. Threshold - an attractive method for the
torn-and-restored card, using lapping. Finger on the Card - a presentation
of the Dunbury Delusion - not bad.
Page, Patrick and Goshman, Albert Magic by Gosh
[SD] Basically, Goshman's act, all of it, plus other items.
[RD] Goshman's work with sponges was incredibly good, and his "coins
under the salt shaker" routine was great. I assume these are in this
Pierce, Lance Roger Klause in Concert
(?, L&L Publishing)
[DP] Includes the most recent treatment of the famous $100 bill switch.
Good motivation for everything, suggested patter and attention to
detail. Most things require special props, from TT to gaffed coins.
Intermediate difficulty. Well designed & produced, a number of
proofing errors (right hand for left hand, etc) and dark photo
reproductions, however. Lots of filler, including letters of praise
for RK from a who's who of modern magic.
Slaight, Allan Stewart James in Print: The First Fifty Years
[SD] Probably the thickest book in magic. At least the thickest one
I've seen at over 990 pages! You have to dig stuff out, but there's a
variety of things here from the easy to the more challenging.
[RD] Mr. James invented the ever-popular Miraskil. Volume 2 of this
incredible inventor's work is still pending (1994).
Tannen's Magic Stars of Magic
[SD] A series of 11 monographs (plus two "lessons") which appeared
individually in the past but are collected into book form. Usually
multiple effects per monograph.
[RD] Much of the magic seems dated, but John Scarne's "Triple
Coincidence" and Dai Vernon's "Ambitious Card" and "Royal Monte" are
[BD] It is noticeable also for the famous SPELLBOUND coin move (D.
Vernon). In every coin book you'll find a reference to that.
Tannen's Magic New Stars of Magic
(various dates, Tannen)
[SD] A monograph series from the 1970's and early 1980's on subjects
such as MacDonald's Four Ace Trick (Garcia), the Card Tunnel
(Krenzel), the Ultimate Invisible Assembly (Kaufman), a 3-Ring Routine
(Capehart), Immaculate Connection (Harris), Bewildering (Bennett),
etc. Some nice routines (one per monograph) with certain equipment
included (gimmick cards, etc.) for some routines.
[RD] Immaculate Connection is great. For a better handling of
MacDonald's Aces, try John Mendoza's "The Book of John: Verse Two".
Tarbell, Harlan Tarbell Course in Magic
(8 vols, 1972, 1993, D. Robbins & Co.)
[SD] Originally distributed in the late 1920's as a mail-order course
in magic with 60 separate lessons and now a multi-volume set covering
nearly every aspect of magic. Not the first thing to buy, for sure,
but something everyone may want to get eventually. (Of course, at
$120+ a set, that may take a while.)
[RD] Harry Lorayne actually wrote Volume 7.
[FD] For those of you who have posted that you would like to get into
magic but don't have the money for tricks, books are your best bet.
Probably the grand-daddy of all series is the Tarbell Course in Magic.
It is hard cover and comes in seven volumes. I bought the complete
set at a magic convention for $115. If bought separately, I believe
that the first volume is $15 and the succeeding ones are $18 each.
The complete course is a wealth of magical information! For a little
over $100 anyone can get into magic and be able to perform some
amazing feats. Every so often I'll see a fellow magician perform some
magical miracle I've never seen and he'll then tell me that he got it
out of Tarbell.
Weber, Michael Lifesavers
[MK] Weber gives lots of ideas on what he calls improvised magic.
Making do with what you got. (He does carry around a lot of strange
things -- but with 10 min. in a bathroom he can build miracles --
maybe that didn't sound right :-) Weber has some interesting ideas on
handling of 'standard' ideas. I liked how he combined the Chris
Kenner and Dan Harlan linking rubber band routines.
[JG] "LIFE SAVERS" is an excellent book. It's currently $35, and I
think it's worth the money if you do any performing for real
people (not other magicians...the stuff is too good to waste on
Several items do require a few moments of advance preparation, so
it's a misnomer to call the book a collection of impromptu magic.
..though each item will look spur-of-the-moment when performed.
The book is well written and illustrated with many photographs.
Mike Weber is well known in magical circles for his creativity
and this book is an excellent introduction to his thinking. I
highly recommend this book.
Wilson, Mark Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
( 1991(?), Courage Books)
[SD] A large book offering a beginner's course in magic. Good for
lots of fundamental stuff, but with a few things that may interest
slightly experienced magicians. Think of it as an abbreviated Tarbell
in some respects.
[FD] Another fine book. The 472 page hard cover book sells for about
$20-$25 and also is a wealth of magical information. For this small
investment you too can get into the field of magic. The original book
should be a staple in every magician's library. There is more magic
in that one book than you might suspect. Beginners stuff, yes. But
also some great effects and sleights.
[RG] This will get you going with cards, coins, rope, mentalism, cups and
balls, even some stage illusions you can build (if you're handy).
Burger, Eugene Experience of Magic
(1989, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] Well-known for his thoughtfulness about performing, Burger does
offer routines and magic effects, but goes to great lengths to talk
about the feeling and spirit with which they should be presented.
Along with people like Fitzkee and Tamariz, Burger should be of
interest to people who want to read the opinions of someone on how to
[RD] Highest recommendation. Mr. Burger asks "What do we want people
to experience when we show them a magic trick?" Is "I've been fooled"
the same as "I feel stupid"? Must we always go for laughs, or can we
evoke other emotions and still achieve entertainment? READ THIS BOOK.
Burger, Eugene The Performance of Close-up Magic
(1990(?), Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] I liked the latter half of the book starting with Chapter 10 on
Magic Lectures. I'm sure folks might like the rest, but I liked his
narratives and opinions best in this book.
Burger, Eugene Craft of Magic
[RD] I like all of Mr. Burger's books. He writes about how to be a
magician, not just how to do tricks. He talks a lot in this book
about the value of proper practice and rehearsal. Sound obvious? Ok,
explain the difference between practice and rehearsal.
Burger, Eugene Secrets and Mysteries of the Close-up Entertainer
[RD] Another good one. The secrets and mysteries are not "where to
put your left index finger while doing the diagonal palm shift", but
"where to put your brain".
Carey, Chris Find the Stuff That's You
(1989, Show-Pro Team)
[RD] I read this once and said "It's content-free". I read it again
and said "I think he's saying something, but I don't know what". I
read it again and said "Oh! Oh! Oh!" I guess I'm just slow.
Seriously, it rewards re-reading, if you have the patience.
Fitzkee, Dariel Trick Brain, The
(19??, Lee Jacobs Productions)
[SD] One of a set of three books on "conjuring psychology" and how to
"think" magic. Most of what I liked was his division of effects into
categories and then definition of ways to perform such effects (not in
detail but generally the kind of look-and-feel the audience would
get). Though several kinds of effects might be called, for example,
"levitations," they may appear differently to audiences based on what
technique is used. An almost academic book classifying magic effects.
Galloway, Andrew Diverting Card Magic
[RD] Actually a discussion of the techniques of attention control (as
in misdirection etc) as practiced by the great John Ramsay. Mr.
Galloway makes his points and illustrates with workable tricks that
require some skill (you don't need misdirection if you're not doing
anything), but his point is not how to do the sleights invisibly, but
how to prevent the spectator from ever becoming suspicious.
Kurtz, Gary Misdirection and Direction
[SD] Subtitled "Keys to the Amplification of the Magic Effect," this
is an unusual little booklet on presentation and audience "control."
[RD] Worth reading, especially for the thoughts on timing and
"creating the moment" at which the audience's attention is off your
Nelms, Henning Magic and Showmanship
[SD] Mainly advice about many aspects of performing magic which uses
effects to illustrate performance points rather than to teach the
[RD] Makes a nice companion to Mr. Burger's "Experience of Magic".
Nelms argues in favour of consistency - for example, at any given
venue, you should not pretend to be both a psychic and a magician,
since this breaks the over-all illusion.
[SFD] Remarkable! The magic isn't too impressive, but the stuff about
presentation, choosing a character to play on stage, the role of the
audience, roles of volunteers, ... I found indispensable. If you like
Mike Close and Eugene Burger on performing philosophy, look this guy
Roper, Steve Comedy Magic Textbook
[RD] Some people take extreme exception to Mr. Roper's claim that
comedy magic is "easier" than other kinds. However, here's a little
experiment you might try: attend an improvisational theatre session,
and observe how many of the scenes are comedic rather than dramatic.
I think that what Mr. Roper is saying is that everyone has some
innate ability to be humourous (especially with self-directed humour),
while not everyone has the intuitive ability to act out a serious
role. In this book, Mr. Roper does a fair job of explaining how he
creates some of his comedy magic (which reads as though it would
indeed be very funny).
Tamariz, Juan Five Points in Magic, The
[SD] Using your body in presenting magic: the eyes, the voice, the
hands, the body, and the feet. Basically discusses how to present
yourself physically to be more effective. In particular, it focuses
on misdirection (and direction) of the audience using your body.
[PH] Mike Close wrote if you do not own and read everything published
by Juan Tamariz, shame on you! "The Five Points in Magic" is very
good though very pricey. It is mostly a discourse on misdirection
and controlling the perceptions of your audience...
[FD] I was standing in line waiting to pay the $35+ for "THE FIVE
POINTS OF MAGIC" after the lecture. The man is a genius when it
comes to magic and misdirection. The book is theory, not tricks.
But I almost think that it should be bought AFTER you see him
perform. You won't appreciate it as much if you purchase it
before. At 85 pgs, I think it's definitely worth the money, but
only because I've seen him perform and admire him tremendously.
3. For the Beginner
Anderson, George Magic Digest
(1972, DBI Books)
[SD] Don't know where you'd find this, but it is a very nice beginners
book which opens with basic "rules" for magic and performing. It
contains nice effects that are easy to learn but effective, covering
cards, coins, ropes, etc. One particularly interesting effect is "The
Australian Belt," a gambling trick using a chain (or rope could be
substituted) which is folded into a figure-8 and then used to
challenge a spectator to pick which loop would catch the finger and
which would not. Why even mention this, of all things? I saw David
Roth do this at a magicians' picnic a few years ago to keep a kid out
of his way while he did his more interesting coin stuff for the
adults. It was a memorable distraction and I looked around for it for
a year until I came upon this book.
Hay, Henry The Amateur Magician's Handbook
(1982, Signet/New American Library)
[SD] Reprint of a 1950 "classic" for the amateur. Lots of basic
advice, but, as with many older works which just get reprinted rather
than really updated as to language and layout, the prose is dense.
Also as in many books (not just older ones reprinted), the photos are
often dark -- illustrations seem to work out better in magic books
unless the highest quality photography is used. However, this is a
good introduction to magic and includes a "modern" section (by The
Amazing Randi) on using video-tape to practice.
[RG] The stuff here is harder than in Wilson's [Mark Wilson's Course in
Magic], because that fits Hay's philosophy that if you get good at the hard
stuff first, you'll be better at the easy stuff later. But it's also more
thorough than Wilson.
Klutz Press The Klutz Book of Magic
(????, Klutz Press)
[FD] Don't underestimate the Klutz Book of Magic. I sat through a
great lecture by Eric DeCamps and then realized that the "lecture
notes" could be the Klutz Book of Magic! There is a ring steal on
page 58 that is a classic in magic. The demonstrator from The
Collector's Workshop used this sleight in his demonstration at
Bob Longe The World's Best Card Tricks
The World's Greatest Card Tricks
The World's Best Coin Tricks
[RG] Despite the hyperbolic titles, these books are pretty good for
beginners. The coin one takes you through all the basic coin moves, the
card books a few EASY card moves, and LOTS of tricks employing these
sleights. And they're CHEAP! You can find them in most larger book stores
(usually in the games section) for about $6 apiece.
Lorayne, Harry The Magic Book
[SD] A good first book in magic and maybe the cheapest hard back book
in existence (at $9 [still? - RD]) for its size and specialty topic.
Lorayne's considered a good author and teacher of magic and this book
covers basic card and coin sleights and effects as well as a
smattering of number magic, mental effects, and miscellaneous magic
with everyday objects.
Tarr, Bill Now You See It, Now You Don't (Vols 1 & 2)
& Classic Magic Tricks
[SD] Don't have these around at the moment and my mind went
blank...arrgh! But, for the beginner, the first two of these are
really recommended. (Supporting videos are available now, I believe.)
They talk about basic sleights with cards, coins, balls, cigarettes,
matches, thimbles, silks, etc. The third is an "everything you always
wanted to know about" certain "platform magic" like how Linking Rings,
Rice Bowls, etc. are done.
4. Card Magic
Ackerman, Alan Esoterist
[RD] A small collection of variations for well-known card effects,
some quite clever, including a number of methods for the "Jack
sandwich". Not for the beginner.
Annemann, Ted 202 Methods of Forcing
[SD] Just what it says. Just about every way is in here (and not just
for forcing cards either), including stacked decks.
Annemann, Ted Annemann's Card Magic
[SD] Reprint from two prior works from 1943 and 1948. Some nice
effects that are not hard to do but aren't too "simplistic," i.e.,
they look harder when you see them performed.
Bannon, John Smoke and Mirrors
(1991, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] Card effects which Bannon feels "surprise" the audience rather
than "merely challenge" them so that "the impossible thing itself [is]
unexpected." Actually, his two-page Foreword is a nice little essay
on magical philosophy as a lead-in to the (31) effects presented.
Boudreau, Lou (Leo?) Spirited Pasteboards & Skullduggery
(1987, 89, Rustic Press)
[SD] Card effects using binary number system counting techniques to
remember and identify cards, ordering, ranking, etc.
Craven, Tom 16th Card Book
[RD] An exploration of a variety of effects that can be achieved by
positioning a chosen card 16th from the top of the deck. Some tricks
require perfect faro shuffles.
de la Torre, Jose Real Magic
(1978, de la Torre)
[SD] Nice card effects, including various color changes.
Dodson, Goodlette Exhibition Card Fans
[BB] A classic book is that teaches techniques for producing card
fans. I bought my copy 15 years ago for $4. Don't know what the
current price is.
Erdnase, S.W. Expert at the Card Table, The
[SD] The classic work on card "manipulation" focused mainly on
gambling but with some "legerdemain" (literally, "light of hand") as
Erdnase, S.W. and Ortiz, Darwin The Annotated Erdnase
(?, Magical Publications)
[DP] This book is a gem because it provides a tremendous
cross-reference of moves, etc. That is, it mentions similar moves and
variations in hundreds of other books. Few books do this. If you want
to learn Erdnase - which some people consider mandatory, this is the
book to get.
[HM] Everything you ever wanted to know about cards is in there. No
one will ever tell you that it is an easy book to master, and I don't
know if ANYONE has truly mastered it all (except the Professor), but
for learning how it should be done, this is the bible. It is a tough
read, and the annotations and photographs added by Darwin make it an
Fields, Ed and Schwartz, Michael Invisible Secrets Revealed
(1976, Sorcerer's Apprentice)
[RD] A booklet on presentations for the marketed trick "The Invisible
Deck". We should all stop ripping off the Don Alan patter.
Fulves, Karl Millennium Aces
[RD] Actually a booklet on applications of the half-pass. Some very
clever methods for this sleight, including the Neil Elias half-pass,
which is easy to do.
Fulves, Karl Kaleidoscope
[RD] Fairly heavy card work. Nothing really grabbed me except "Force
Feed", a very clever, simple, and honest-looking force.
Fulves, Karl Self-Working Card Tricks
& More Self-Working Card Tricks
(1976 & 1984, Dover)
[SD] Two paperbacks with basic, easy-to-learn and perform card effects
"for the amateur magician." (From a series of books by Fulves on various
aspects of easy magic effects.)
[RD] These are all intended to be performable by those with little or no
technical expertise, and hence rely on subtleties rather than sleights.
Those who do have the skills will see many ways to dress up the effects.
Favourite trick from the first book: the O. Henry trick.
Ganson, Lewis Inner Secrets of Card Magic
& More Inner Secrets
& Further Inner Secrets
& Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic
[SD] Several books of stuff from Dai Vernon, the patriarch of LA's
Magic Castle. Some stuff for the person just beyond the beginner
stage, but mostly effects of an intermediate nature. Includes
classics like Twisted Aces.
Ganson, Lewis and Endfield, Cy Entertaining Card Magic
[SD] The highlight of this book for card sleight fans is the Signed
Card To Pocket trick which utilizes a variation of Erdnase's diagonal
Garcia, Frank Wildcard Miracles
[SD] The "Wildcard" routine and its variations, along with stuff like
the Ambitious Card, are important intermediate effects to learn once
you have basic sleights down. This book covers Wildcard well as an
introduction to the effect Garcia created (though it evolved from
other work done earlier which he credits).
[RD] Most people seem to credit the original Wild Card to Peter Kane
Garcia, Frank Elegant Magic of Father Cyprian
[RD] Mr. Garcia was a great magician, but he couldn't write worth
beans. His books are exquisite torture, because the magic is so good
and the explanations are so over-written. This is no exception.
Favourite trick: Solid Gold Deception.
Garcia, Frank Exclusive Card Secrets & Exclusive Card Miracles
(both 1980, ?)
[RD] Ditto the comments under "Elegant Magic of Father Cyprian". The
card work is very clever, and the entertainment value is very high.
Favourite trick: Pinnacle Aces.
Giobbi, Roberto Card College (Volumes 1-4)
[PN] The definitive reference for serious card workers. Translated by
Goldstein, Phil Focus
(1991(?), Hermetic Press)
[SD] The favorite/best card work of Phil Goldstein. Short on
illustrations, but explanations seem clear enough.
Green, Cliff Professional Card Magic
(1979, Tannen Magic Inc.)
[BD] A wonderful book with a lot of card sleights and techniques very
well illustrated. Only for experts on card magic.
Haines, Ronald 36 Tricks with Fa-Ko Cards
(?, Haines House of Cards)
[SD] The Fa-Ko deck is filled with bizarrely manufactured cards that
you can slip into regular decks. This book describes effects to put
them to use. It covers basic "gimmicked" card ideas and is
interesting without the actual deck. (Making the cards yourself would
be difficult, though.)
Harris, Paul Supermagic
[SD] For those interested in creative, sometimes wacky work.
Supermagic gives us Reset: a good effect with no gaffes or fakery, just
the cards themselves.
Harris, Paul A Close-Up Kinda Guy
[SD] Good stuff from Paul Harris with a few bizarre things (like a
card flipping flourish) thrown in.
Harris, Paul Las Vegas Close-up
(1978, Chuck Martinez Productions)
[BD] In my opinion one of the best book written by Paul. The effect
"Stapled!" has been for 5 years my forte: a transposition of 2 cards
which have been stapled together (and one is signed by a spectator!).
Some improvements to the original effect are possible, but anyway it
is worth the price of the book. Very interesting also "Gambler vs.
Mentalist vs. Magician": a triumph effect with a very nice
presentation. For cards+coins performers is "Silver Slide". 4 coins
are produced under 4 cards: a good start for your matrix routine.
Harris, Paul Close-up Entertainer
(1979, Chuck Martinez Productions)
[BD] "The Silver Elevator" is dedicated to cards+coins fans: 4 coins, one
at a time, penetrate up from the table to the center of the deck. Also a
classical move that every magician performing a matrix effect should know.
I like very much "Ackerman's Face Lift": another nice transposition of 2
Hopkins, Charles Outs, Precautions and Challenges
[DL] A GREAT book for card workers). This is a book of "outs" and
philosophies therein. Here's a sample of the table of
contents of the book:
Whose fault when things go wrong?
Psychology of Failure
Attitudes that get cooperation
Productions from pockets and other places
First Aid for feeble memories
"Outs" compared with challenges
When the unruly spectator "gives you the works"
What makes an audience get in the way?
Hugard, Jean Encyclopedia of Card Tricks
[SD] A corrected version of a 1937 "classic" which covers over 600
card effects as well as explaining prearranged decks, gimmicked decks,
and basic card sleights. Maybe the first book specializing in cards
that a person would want to get. Simple effects, often tersely
explained, but a good survey of effects.
[RD] Includes the "Nicola" card system. An early form of MacDonald's
Aces is in here, as well as French's Aces, which David Williamson
teaches on his second (I think) video.
[SFD] Lots of tricks, many IMHO long-winded and mechanical. Good
sections on stripper and svengali decks. I so far like a few ideas,
but haven't used it much.
Hugard, Jean Card Manipulations "(Series 1-5)
& More Card Manipulations (Series 1-4)
(1973 & 1974, Dover)
[SD] Reprints of monographs on various basic (and not so basic) card
sleights and effects which use them.
Hugard, Jean and Braue, Frederick Royal Road to Card Magic
[SD] One of the "classic" card magic books (originally printed in
1949) on all kinds of card sleights. Few actual routines, but much
useful material on handling cards.
Hugard, Jean and Braue, Frederick Expert Card Technique
[SD] Reprint of 1944 work that is a natural companion to The Royal
Road to Card Magic. Contains much more material than Royal Road and,
therefore, may be even a more useful reference once the former's
sleights are known and practiced.
[RD] Very good, but not a beginner's book. Apparently there was a bit
of a scandal when this book first appeared, since much of the material
is unattributed and was included without permission.
[SFD] Lots of detailed directions, medium-quality drawings, dated
handlings of some sleights (1940's)
Jay, Ricky Cards as Weapons
[MK] Interesting reading. Jay shows you his techniques for
throwing cards. It's done VERY tongue-in-cheek and filled with some
Kaufman, Richard Secrets of Brother John Hamman
(1989, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] As creator of one of the basic card count sleights, Hamman's name
pops up all over in many magic books. A nice collection of card
[RD] Favourite trick: The Locked Room. Favourite sleight: his double
lift. It's my default choice now.
Lorayne, Harry Close-Up Card Magic
[SD] Another in Lorayne's series of books on (mostly) card effects.
(Every book claims he's "giving away the farm.")
Lorayne, Harry Best of Friends Vol 1 & Vol 2
(1982 & 1985, Lorayne)
[SD] Two inch-thick volumes of (mostly) card effects from a variety of
folks who contributed to this collection, including Lorayne himself.
Lorayne, Harry Deck-Sterity
(1967, D. Robbins & Co.)
[SD] When you're starting to seriously expand your card magic, i.e.,
you have basic sleights down, Lorayne's books are a good extension of
what you have learned from more basic books. (But they are all
relatively expensive books except The Magic Book.)
Lorayne, Harry Afterthoughts
[SD] Features the Ultra Move and several effects based on it as well
as a few other "moves" Lorayne likes. Difficult stuff, generally.
Lorayne, Harry Personal Secrets
[SD] Some fairly neat stuff once you get other basic card stuff down.
Lorayne, Harry My Favorite Card Tricks
[SD] Not my favorite Lorayne book, but good for folks who like card
effects and are beyond the basic stuff.
[RD] Favourite trick: Impromptu Out of This World. It kills some people
who know the working of the original, since you let the spectator shuffle
Lorayne, Harry Reputation-Makers
[SD] More neat stuff from Harry Lorayne for the intermediate to
advanced card worker.
Lorayne, Harry Rim Shots
[SD] More neat stuff from Harry Lorayne for the intermediate to
advanced card worker.
Lorayne, Harry Trend-Setters
[SD] More neat stuff from Harry Lorayne for the intermediate to
advanced card worker.
Lorayne, Harry Quantum Leaps
[SD] More neat stuff from Harry Lorayne for the intermediate to
advanced card worker. What I liked about this book was that is
contained material he does on video, so, after having seen it
performed a few times through the video, I had a reference to go to at
MacDougall, Michael Card Mastery
[SD] This book contains card "manipulation" skills, especially for
gambling, and is actually material from the late 1930's. However, the
major attraction of the book is that it includes the complete text of
Erdnase's The Expert at the Card Table.
[RD] Wrt Erdnase, you might also consider Dai Vernon's "Revelations",
which is basically a page by page commentary and explanation of the
Erdnase book. It also contains the complete Erdnase text.
Mentzer, Jerry Counts, Cuts, Moves, and Subtlety
[SD] An important text on important card manipulation, focusing, as
the title suggests, on ways to false count cards, cut them, spread
them to conceal cards, etc. Worthwhile having, though the material is
covered many other places, simply because it is all here in one place.
Mentzer, Jerry Basic Skill With Cards
[SD] A very useful booklet covering false cuts and shuffles, controls,
sleights (like the "glide"), forces, and palming.
Mentzer, Jerry Fechter
[DP] A tribute to the late great Eddie Fechter, legend of the Forks
Hotel. Lots of Fechter bits and tricks. Most things are simple and
direct, wasting no time so that the spectators will buy another beer.
No gaffes, no stories. Some things are brilliant, most good. Easy to
difficult. Includes entire text of "Magician Nitely".
Minch, Stephen The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, Vol I
(1991(?), L&L Publishing)
[SD] The objective of this two-volume set of Elmsley is to cover his
work completely. Only this first volume is available at this point.
Besides lots of interesting card work, including Elmsley's own
explanations of his "ghost" count known to most as the Elmsley Count,
there is a lecture "On the Theory and Practice of Magic." Minch states
that Vol II will contain, among other things, the performance portion
of the lecture in full detail. Minch says this lecture was highly
regarded when Elmsley toured the U.S.A. many years ago.
[RD] An outstanding book. Elmsley was a subtle thinker, (he's still
alive, but not active in magic) and many of his creations are simply
brilliant. A few of the effects in this book (which contains dozens
of tricks) involve more "dealing through the deck" than is popular
right now, but I think that for the right audience, these tricks go
over quite well. Favourite trick: Serendipity (a fantastic
Minch, Stephen Vernon Chronicles, The vols. 1-3
(198?, 198?, 198?, L&L Publ.)
& Lost Inner Secrets Volume 1
(1987, L&L Publishing)
[SD] Several books of stuff from Dai Vernon, the patriarch of LA's
Magic Castle. Mostly cards. Some stuff for the person just beyond
the beginner stage, but mostly effects of an intermediate nature.
Includes classics like Twisted Aces and Triumph.
Minch, Stephen Daryl's Ambitious Card Omnibus
[SD] (Actually written in 1985.) Contains an entire history of the
Ambitious Card effect and shows various ways to present/use it. An
excellent book on a single effect and its variations.
Minch, Stephen Larry Jennings' Neoclassics
(1987, L&L Publishing)
[SD] Subtitled "Three Complete Lesson in Professional Card
Presentation," this book has three effects embellishing more familiar
themes: the card in the orange, the spectator finds the aces, and
Nash, Martin Ever So Sleightly
& Any Second Now
& Sleight Unseen
(1975, 77, 79, Micky Hades International)
[SD] Subtitled "The Professional Card Technique of Martin A. Nash,"
this series covers, as the subtitle suggests, covers many basic -- and
not-so-basic -- card sleights and techniques, using effects to
demonstrate them. A good book for the intermediate magician, but
pretty technical and detailed for a newcomer.
Ortiz, Darwin Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table
(?, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] Ortiz is a sheer genius with cards and gambling tricks. He
lectures to police and security folks, consults with casinos, etc.
The stuff in this book is really hard to do, for the most part.
Seeing Ortiz is better than reading about what he does. But there are
a few things here that are within the realm of human possibility!
[RD] Favourite trick: Modern Jazz Aces.
Osterlind, Richard Breakthrough Card System
[RD] A mathematical system for stacking a deck that leaves it looking
totally random (and hence examinable), but which permits all of the
effects possible with Si Stebbins, Eight Kings, etc, and other stacks
that will not bear inspection. At $5, this is a bargoon! I always
carry this with me, and use it for a "just think of a card"
presentation. It astonishes.
Ouellet, Gary Procontrol
[RD] If you buy this for the advertised effect, be prepared to be VERY
disappointed. Exactly the same technique is explained in complete
detail in Bill Severn's Magic Workshop, which is probably in your
public library. However, Procontrol contains a tutorial on the spread
pass which is great - it's worth the price of the book, if you are
interested in simple and deceptive methods for the pass (so who
Racherbaumer, John The Wild Card Kit: A Modular Experiment
[SD] Racherbaumer has put together a "theme" book just on the Wild
Card effect which he states comes originally from Brother John
Hamman's "The Mystic Nine" and became the Wild Card through Peter Kane
(whose handling is part of the book). The book breaks the effect into
several stages and shows variations at each point, including a version
with plain cards that can be handed out to the audience. (Though less
extensive, it is like Daryl's Ambitious Card Omnibus.) There is a nice
bibliography as well for those who wish to pursue the subject further.
All in all, it's a compact coverage of a 'classic' effect (and even
comes with the requisite packet of cards).
Racherbaumer, John Universal Card, The
[SD] Like "Wildcard" and the "Ambitious Card," this is a basic routine
with many variations. Racherbaumer's book covers the subject well and
gives a history of the effect.
Ross, Faucett Early Vernon
(1962, Magic Inc.)
[RD] Dai Vernon's earliest creations continue to impress. These
tricks were marketed to a small group of magicians by giving them a
complete description of the effects, then offering to sell the
workings. The famous "psychological force" is in here.
Scarne, John Scarne on Cards Tricks
(1950, Signet/New American Library)
[SD] Paperback of card effects that you can probably find in any mall
[RD] Contains simplified handlings (virtually no sleights anywhere) of
a number of well-known plots. Not to be scorned because of general
Sharpe, Alton Expert Card Mysteries
(1975, Tannen Magic Inc.)
[BD] A collection of moves and card tricks from Tony Kardyro, Frank
Lane, Alton Sharpe itself and many others. There are special sections
dedicated to Larry Jennings, Paul Swinford and Ed Marlo.
Sharpe, Alton Expert Card Conjuring & Chicanery
(1976, D. Robbins and Co.)
[BD] Another collection of card tricks from the world experts. The
special sections on the most important sleights and effects by Marlo
are the most valuable parts of the book. You will find for example:
the Perfect False Riffle Shuffle, Marlo Slip Cuts, Double Lift
Substitutes, many Triumphs, etc.
Simon, Frank Versatile Card Magic
(1983, Magical Publications)
[SD] Has great food for thought. His Versatile Spread Controls were a
fad among young card workers in Japan. This is one of those books
that makes you want to go out and show somebody what you just learned.
Really nice card control. Not entirely original, although the
handling described sees print for the first time.
Stevenson, Al 75 Tricks with a Svengali Deck
(1964, Wizard's Workshop)
[SD] As it sounds, a book on how to use this gimmicked deck.
Stevenson, Al 75 Tricks with a Stripper Deck
(1962, Wizard Books)
[SD] As it sounds, a book on how to use this gimmicked deck.
Tamariz, Juan Sonata
[DP] Interesting collection of moves, theory and detailed routines.
Senor Tamariz loves to out-think his audience, and a number of the
routines are crafted with immense care and delight. There is,
however, a huge variation in level of difficulty and value throughout.
5. Coin Magic
Andrus, Jerry Five Dollar Tricks
(1973, J A Enterprises))
[RD] Silver dollars, that is. This booklet (five routines) includes a
nice effect of producing coins from a dollar bill which is continually
shown on both sides.
Bobo, J.B. New Modern Coin Magic
(1966, Magic, Inc.)
[SD] The "classic" book on all aspects of coin magic. If you're going
to do coin magic, this is a book you need to have.
[E?] the standard, very complete with sleights and effects, although some
of the effects are considered "dated" by some. There are two versions
available, a Dover paperback for under $10.00 and a hard cover (called "New
Modern Coin Magic" with about 100 extra pages of sleights and routines)
which is available for about $30.00
Fulves, Karl Self-Working Coin Magic
[SD] Easy to learn and perform effects with coins for beginning
Futagawa, Shigeo Introduction to Coin Magic
(1978, Borden Publishing Co.)
[JB] An excellent introduction to coin magic. This book includes
many, clear, line-drawing illustrations. Most common sleights are
well-described and illustrated together with quite a few effects.
This book is not as extensive as Bobo or Roth, but very good for
beginners in coin magic.
Jennings, Nina et al Larry Jennings on Card and Coin Handling
(1977, Jeff Busby Magic Inc.)
[SD] A booklet which, besides cards and coins, includes Larry
Jennings' Chop Cup routine. It's based on magic lectures Jennings
developed in 1967 and 1970
Kaufman, Richard Coinmagic
(1981, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] A collection of coin magic routines from many people, compiled by
Richard Kaufman. After Bobo's book, perhaps the most useful
intermediate coin magic book. As usual, the illustrations are very
[E?] an excellent book of "new" sleights and effects by a number of
current coin manipulators, most notably David Roth (not the guy from
Van Halen!). It covers a few of the basic sleights, including the
shuttle pass and Roth's handling of the Retention Vanish, but it is
assumed that you have some background in coins (which can be obtained
in Bobo). The effects vary from intermediate to difficult. "Hanging
coins" is a popular effect from the book.
Kurtz, Gary Coin Magic
[SD] Booklet of good stuff to move a beginning coin worker along.
Roth, David Expert Coin Magic
(1985, D. Robbins)
[SD] Originally published by Richard Kaufman, this book covers most of
the things you will have seen Roth do over the years. As perhaps the
most skilled coin magician in modern magic, Roth sets technical
standards with his work. The book, like most of what Kaufman has
published, has fine illustrations. Highly recommended for someone who
really wants to get into coin magic by learning some nice (but not
[DH] A pricey and hard to find book, I have been coveting this for
some time. The sheer volume of material kind of overwhelms you,
somewhat like opening Bobo for the first time. The up side is that the
writing and drawings are of the highest quality. If the drawings where
photos, I would have said this was the perfect magic book. The book is
well organized into 3 sections: general coin magic, coin box magic,
and some of David's major routines. I found lots of material that I
could master, plus lots that I probably never will (routines where you
classic palm 4 coins the whole time until the end...Not). I thought
the coin box stuff was the most unique. He has tons of Okito (and all
the variations of the coin box) routines that never use a turnover.
Very clever. A definite "must have" for anyone doing coins. Now if
only I could afford some of Roth's videos.
[E?] this book was out of print, but I believe that it has been
reprinted by Robbins. This is an awesome tome of very modern moves
and routines covering the effects and technique of David Roth. It has
sections on coin box routines and includes Roth's famous "Portable
Hole" routine. A must-have for any serious student of coin magic.
Simmons, Ken Scotch and Soda (Parts 1 and 2)
(1982, 86, Magic City)
[SD] Two booklets on how to use the Scotch 'n' Soda effect. I
actually picked these up in Disney's Magic Kingdom Magic Shop in Walt
Disney World -- Disneyland's is, overall, a superior shop, but both
had decent booklets on magic.
6. Card & Coin Combinations
Kaufman, Richard Complete Works of Derek Dingle, The
(1982, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] Derek Dingle does (mostly) cards and this work by Kaufman covers
most of the stuff the folks associate with Derek. A good modern book
on card magic, but not easy by any means.
[DP] Includes some truly classic effects. Others have bewildering
descriptions. Many items with gaffed cards and coins. Lots of clues
for the development of useful sleights (e.g., Silent Steal, Zarrow
shuffle, Riffle Pass, Double lift -- Dingle's is the best I've seen).
Favorite effect: Regal Royal Flush.
Kaufman, Richard Williamson's Wonders
(1989, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] Magic from a well-respected "new" name. People who have seen
David Williamson perform/lecture seem to really like him. Definitely
good card/coin stuff here.
Kaufman, Richard Sankey Pankey
(1986, Kaufman & Greenberg)
[SD] The works of Jay Sankey, including Forgery - An amazing routine
that gets great mileage out of a simple duplicate marked card. The
effect: A card is marked with a big X. X mark 'jumps' from back to
face, to back, and then... Split Ends - Anyone who has ever seen or
read the late Nate Leipzeig's Knife between two selected cards trick
will appreciate this fresh new treatment. Apparently, Stephen Minch
proposed the idea and solution of doing it with one card, that is card
stabbing into the layers of a selected card. Jay's handling is really
ingenious and one of my favorites. Some really twisted coin effects
are also in this 121 page hard cover book making a great treat to the
magician that is looking for a book with more than just one good trick
[RD] This book also contains the "card through balloon" trick that
Copperfield did on TV. It was my favourite trick from the book before
that, and still is.
Kurtz, Gary Continuations ... Departures, 1&2
[SD] Another booklet on coin magic plus a few things with cards.
Lorayne, Harry Star Quality - The Magic of David Regal
[RD] Mostly cards, but also some coins (and even Q-tips!). This is a
fine book. Mr. Regal is very creative, and very conscious of the
visual aspects of magic. Favourite trick: Divining Card.
Maxwell, Mike Classic Magic of Larry Jennings
(198?, L&L Publishing)
[SD] Just a ton of stuff with cards (and some coins).
[RD] An outstanding book. Favourite trick: The Visitor - an absolute
[TN] The BEST BOOK IN THE WORLD!!!! If you want to learn how to do
first-rate card tricks (I do), go out and find the Larry Jennings book.
This guy is the absolute Ninja. He is right up there with Brother Hamman.
I mean it. You won't regret it.
Maxwell, Mike Commercial Magic of J.C. Wagner
(198?, L&L Publishing)
[SD] One of the most respected of magic's "underground" names. Wagner
was, like many other magicians, a bartender who did his magic in (or
at) the bar.
[RD] This is available in soft cover now. A great book for the money.
Favourite trick: The Assembly.
Minch, Stephen Carneycopia
(?, L&L Publishing)
[DP] Simple, direct material, mostly without gaffes. Very well written and
explained. Many strong sequences and a few routines. Some really
clever ideas, but the better stuff is often the most difficult. Easy
to impossible. No crystals or toy mice here.
Ouellet, Gary Close-Up Illusions
(1990, Camirand Academy of Magic)
[SD] A fine book on different approaches to common sleights such as
the French Drop, Double Lift, etc. A companion video-tape can be
purchased that shows all the sleights performed -- probably worthwhile
(at $20) since seeing magic performed is more important than being
told about it or looking at pictures.
[FD] I think it's a great book. It is very well written, and is
loaded with tips. There's a section on the "Cigarette through the
Coin" which is great. Gary writes about how all of us sometimes buy a
prop which then ends up in a drawer because we think it's too
difficult to use. He uses this trick as an example and then proceeds
to tell you how the effect can be done effectively and be a killer. I
tried it and it was great! The effect had previously sat in a drawer
for over a year. I've also met Gary at conventions and he is a real
gentleman. He is willing to spend time with you just to say hello or
to discuss an effect. The last time I spoke to him and told him I
much I liked the book, he told me that the Modified Kosky Illusion at
the end of the book was worth the price of the book. He then
proceeded to show me the effect.
[JB] I have an extensive library and this is my favorite. Most items
in the book are explained in terms that anyone can understand. I am a
technical writer and have found few books on magic written so clearly.
If you are primarily interested in close-up magic, then definitely buy
[DH] I bought this book a couple months ago to take on a business
trip. I didn't put it down until I was done (~400 pages). Gary really
brings a fresh attitude to magic and it comes out in his writing. The
book is filled to the brim with photos (over 500, many with multiple
angle shots on the same move). He covers a lot of card stuff. One
criticism I have is the space spent on describing about 10 different
double lifts. There are many "building block" moves that could be used
in other routines. There is also a fair amount of coin magic. He does
a treatise on the French drop which is quite interesting. Also gives
about 5 different variations on it. The big win factor for this book
is that the many photos make it easy to learn from. The magic ranges
from simple (the first trick is a variation on the ColorView cube we
all got in our first magic set) to the difficult (card moves in
particular). The only other criticism I have with the book (or any
magic book for that matter) is several references to other books he
has written. I hate that, particularly when they are the "now use the
move I described in X but won't describe here because you obviously
have my other book" variety.
I liked the book so well that I bought the companion video about a
month later (I am on a monthly magic budget). This is an idea that is
long overdue. The video shows all the sleights as they would appear
when performed. He (generally) does not show an entire routine or a
slo-mo version of the sleight. Gary goes to great lengths to state
that it is not a teaching video, but to show you how a move looks. It
really gave me a sense of the timing needed to make the moves
work. The video quality is not high, but then neither is the price,
compared to any other video you would buy. It looks like Gary and his
publisher just set up the camcorder in the living room and went to
work. Don't get me wrong, everything is very visible and clear and
this is a valuable tool when combined with the book.
[DP] - some valuable tips on hand care
- chapter on the classic force with excellent suggestions (as an
aside, if someone claims to be able to classic force the same
card on 100 people in a row (as G.O. does) this says more about
the people with which the magician associates than the magician
himself. _Nobody_ can classic force with success on my S.O. for
example --- she reaches over with both hands :-)
- some good card effects and handling tips
- dice stacking chapter
Powers, Michael Top Secret Stuff
[MK] This book is mostly card effects with some coin and other
objects. There are some effects that are very difficult. Some of the
moves needed for the effects are Marlo's ATFUS, kelly bottom, a
pass... Definitely not for the beginner.
Annemann, Ted Practical Mental Magic
[SD] Reprint of a 1944 Annemann book which is one of the basic texts
for learning mentalism.
[SFD] This is a view into another world for me - the world between
magic and the con game. Audacious - some day I'll get the nerve to try
some of this stuff! Much outdated equipment, but a lot of this stuff
looks to me like it would work and be very commercial.
Becker, Larry Larry Becker's World of Super Mentalism (two volumes)
[SD] Some nice mentalism effects that are not hard to do.
Corinda 13 Steps to Mentalism
[SD] A "classic" work but, some feel, flawed because it often obscures
the important stuff it has to say with a lot of verbiage. (However,
older books often seem to be written very pompously.)
Fulves, Karl Self-Working Mental Magic
[RD] A collection of basic methods for a variety of mental magic,
including predictions, psychometry, book tests, etc. Favourite trick:
"bill-halves into the sealed envelope" - DEADLY!
Waters, T.A. Mind Myth & Magic
[?] Another classic work. 800 page book with over 200 mental effects.
8. Other Magic
Albenice Reel Magic
[SD] The main treatise on use of "the reel." Like many such "classic"
works, it shows its age, but is still one of the only books on this
Anderson, Gene and Marshall, Frances Newspaper Magic
(1968, Magic Inc.)
[RD] A wide variety of tricks using newspaper, including Anderson's
award-winning paper-tearing and paper-folding act. Anderson's
torn-and-restored newspaper is something of a classic. It's my
favourite trick in this book.
Caveney, Mike Harry Anderson - Wiseguy
[MK] As a HA fan I loved this book. It filled with great stories
and every routine that Anderson is known for is explained -- Marked,
Gang of Four, Skippy (Needle thru arm is not really explained, but it
Fitzkee, Dariel Rope Eternal
(1984, D. Robbins & Co.)
[SD] Robbins edition of a 1956 monograph on "The Only Six Ways to
Restore a Rope" which focuses on the Cut-and-Restored Rope effects.
Includes numerous effects based on these techniques. Basic book for
folks who are interested in this effect and its variations.
Fulves, Karl Self-Working Paper Magic
[SD] Easy to learn and perform effects with paper for beginning
magicians. Many based on "topology" tricks, paper folding, and
effects with money.
Ganson, Lewis Reelistic Magic
[RD] A small collection of tricks using reels. A bit more modern than
Albenice's book, but still dated.
James, Stewart Abbott's Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks for Magicians
[SD] Reprint of a 1945 work covering all aspects of magic with ropes
covering knots, penetrations (one and two rope varieties), cut- and
restored, the "Hindoo" rope trick, and miscellaneous effects.
[SFD] I find this book outstanding; clear and imaginative, with many
alternate workings for tricks.
Marci, Jill The Art of Clowning
[JM] I have authored a book called the art of clowning...It's been
reviewed in Genii Magazine...the book deals with children's magic,
nightclub magic, magician versus clown magic, magic at festivals,
fairs, on television. It also deals with designing a clown face,
animal balloons, puppetry. Promotional ideas, selling yourself, plus
more. 62 pages book sells for $12.50 plus $5.00 shipping and handling
Foreword to the book is written by Goldfinger and Dove.
Marshall, Frances The Sponge Book
(?, Magic Inc.)
[SD] Lots of advice (in a small booklet) on sponge magic, including
explanation of Al Goshman's routine with the invisible purse.
Mishell, Ed and Abe Hurwitz ELASTRIX
(1979, Magico Magazine)
[HS] Rubber Bands - Tricks, Stunts and Puzzles
Novak, Bob Jack Miller's Famous Linking Ring Routine
[SD] Reprint of a 1945 monograph on one well-known Linking Ring
routine which includes a variety of ways to display rings during the
routine. One could take these individual ideas and craft shorter
routines as well as reorder the one that's here.
Penn and Teller How to Play with Your Food
[Anonymous] Got the book last week-end, spent all afternoon reading
it, almost wet myself. Definitely worth the price, but don't get your
hopes up about the included gimmicks, they're pretty lame. NOTE: the
sugar packets originally supplied were defective and have been
Penn & Teller Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends
[MK] I guess there are actual tricks in here, but its mostly fun
stories. They do explain how to cut & restore a snake and how to
annoy Letterman. A must for any P&T fan.
Rice and Van Zandt Through the Dye Tube
(1971, Silk King Studios)
[SD] Reprint of a 1943 document on use of the dye tube for vanishing,
producing, and performing color changes with silks. A basic text on
working with a dye tube for silks.
Seabrooke, Terry Around the World with a Baking Tin
[MK] Terry gives his routine for his burned bill and linking rings.
He also includes tips for the MC and worker. Interesting reading,
good stories, but I'm not sure I'll use anything in it.
Shute, Merlyn How-To Book of the Chop Cup
(1980, Morrissey Magic Ltd)
[SD] A monograph on the use of the Chop Cup.
Shute, Merlyn Out of Your Pocket
(?, Morrissey Magic Ltd)
[RD] More than the title suggests, this booklet gives some pointers
for choosing effects to perform professionally in a restaurant
setting, choosing a professional name, etc. Favourite trick: Sid
Lorraine's handling for the cut and restored rope.
Shute, Merlyn How-To Book of the Zombie
(1983, Morrissey Magic Ltd)
[SD] A monograph on the use of the Zombie.
Shute, Merlyn Cups, Cups, Cups
(1980, Morrissey Magic Ltd)
[SD] A monograph on the use of the Cups and Balls.
Walsh, Audley Sponge Ball Manipulations
[RD] A booklet of routines using mostly standard, but also some
non-standard sponge balls. Includes the "Master Routine". Some
clever moves, but the routines are very dated.
Weigle, Oscar and Dell, Alan Money Magic of Mike Bornstein, The
(1980, Magico Magazine)
Lees, Walt More Money Magic of Mike Bornstein
(198?, Magico Magazine)
Bornstein, Mike Latest Money Magic of Mike Bornstein
[SD] Set of three booklets on magic with dollar bills: floating them,
folding them, tearing them, etc.
Willmarth, Phillip Ring and Rope Book (Vol One)
[SD] A survey of things to do with rope and a single ring (metal or
wooden). For those who do the Linking Rings and or rope effects,
maybe you'd like putting them together for some variety. (Some folks
like to do this sort of stuff with silks and rings.)
[RD] This is a fine book, but it has more typos per page ("left hand"
instead of "right hand", etc) than any other I've seen. Once you sort
them out, some of the tricks are great. Favourite trick: Quicksilver.
Alfredson, James and Daily, George A Bibliobraphy of Conjuring Periodicals
in English: 1791 - 1983
(1986, Magic of Collectors)
[GH] This bibliography lists over 7500 periodicals. It is the bible for
magazine collectors. Enough said.
Blackstone, Harry Jr. The Blackstone Book of Magic and Illusion
[MK] A nice picture book of magical history. Naturally there's
lots of stuff about his dad and himself, but it's interesting. He
also includes some simple tricks at the end.
Christopher, Milbourne Illustrated History of Magic, The
[SD] A very nice history of magic book. A "coffee table" book, but
[RD] Is this the book where Christopher perpetuates the myth about one
of the pyramids of Egypt containing a picture of a magician performing
the cups and balls?
Clark, Hyla World's Greatest Magic, The
(1976, Tree Communications)
[SD] A "coffee table" book about personalities in magic both past and
present (around the time of this book, e.g., Doug Henning). An
interesting book, however, for those who want to know about some of
the folks who have (and do) make a name for magic. The book also
discusses some magic effects (including large stage illusions) and how
they are done in a special section by The Amazing Randi.
Clark, Sidney The Annals of Conjuring
(1983, Magico Magazine)
[GH] This is a reprint of series that ran in "The Magic Wand" from 1924-1928.
The one book I would take to a desert island. The greatest history of magic
written. This is one of the books that you can read at the beach. While the
level of detail is amazing, Clark's style of writing is so enjoyable that
it seems an easy read. This book covers the magic in England and Europe up
until the early 1900's.
Coleman, Earle Magic: A Reference Guide
(1987, Greenwood Press)
[GH] It discusses 100's of magic books, and is a rather hard read.
Cox, J. Randolph Man of Magic and Mystery: A Guide to the Work of
Walter B. Gibson
(1988, Scarecrow Press)
[JC] I visited him often in the last decade of his life and took most
of my notes for the book from his own collection and from interviews
with him. A fascinating man.
Dawes, Edwin The Great Illusionists
(1979, Chartwell Books)
[GH] One of my favorites. It contains some wonderful chapters on some far
reaching areas of magic history. Everything from learned animals to
Houdini. The depth of research is amazing, one of the best reference work
around. It is based on Dawes's series of articles in the "Magic Circular".
Well illustrated, this book can be picked up in used book stories for
Dawes, Edwin and Setterington, Arthur Encyclopedia of Magic, The
(1986, Gallery Books)
[SD] Mainly a "picture book" (color and B&W) discussing the history of
magic and some of its major categories such as escapes, stage
illusions, mentalism, levitations, card magic, etc. Also includes
some current -- at the time of the book and shortly before --
[RD] No relation, at least not that we can determine.
Fisher, John Paul Daniels and the Story of Magic
(1987, Jonathan Cape Ltd)
[RD] Basically a rave-up about Daniels (who is admittedly pretty
good), but also has a lot of interesting information about the
development of magic as an entertainment form.
Forrester, Stephen A Bibliography of Magic Classics
(1993, limited edition of 150)
[GH] This books covers the writings of 58 authors, and has an extensive
bibliography of publications on magic collecting. This is a must have if you
are into magic book collecting. Last I heard the only copies left are the
leather bound ones at $200 plus.
Gibson, Walter The Master Magicians
[RD] Historical and biographical information about the greats of years
gone by. Interesting stuff.
Gill, Robert Magic as a Performing Art
[GH] A nice general overview of just over 1000 magic books.
Jay, Ricky Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women
[MK] Jay describes a section of entertainment not commonly found.
The man who grows, folks with strange mental powers, pig-faced ladies,
people who musically expel intestinal gas -- Not your typical
magicians. I have read the book and I still can't remember how Max
Malini got into this bunch.
Pecor, Charles The Magician on the American Stage 1752 - 1874
(1977, Emerson and West)
[GH] This is Charles Pecor's PhD thesis, and what a thesis it is. It gives a
detailed history of the growth of magic in America up until the late
1800's. Based on searches through newspaper files, books and other records,
he really does a great job of breathing life into early American magic.
Price, David Magic: A Pictoral History of Conjuring in the Theatre
(1985, Cornwall Books)
[GH] This is the single best history of magic in English. It covers the greats
and not so greats in more detail than you want. It contains 100's of
illustrations and has a wonderful color poster section. If you only have
one book on magic history, this is the one to have. It costs about $60.
Randi, James Conjuring
(1992, St. Martin's Press)
[MK] Some nice photos. Some historical & biographical info. Still
not sure how Randi decided who to include in the book -- its
impossible to include everyone.
Stott, Raymond Toole A Bibliography of English Conjuring 1581-1876
(1976, Harpur and Sons)
& A Bibliography of English Conjuring 1569-1876,
(1978, Harpur and Sons)
[GH] These two volumes are the book collector's bible, enough said.
Waters, T.A. Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians
(1988, Facts On File Publ.)
[SD] Just what is sounds like: a one-volume reference book on people,
effects, and places related to magic. Can't think of a better book to
have for such purposes given its reasonable price ($20). It doesn't
explain effects but tells you what they are about, i.e., explains the
parlance of the magical arts. Includes some photographs of
10. Business Issues in Magic
Charles, Kirk Standing Up Surrounded
(1989, Hermetic Press)
[SD] Advice about performing in a crowd on your feet with a Foreword
by Eugene Burger. Covers the kinds of bookings you're likely to get
requiring such performance conditions and deals with subjects like
"Food and Drink," "Problem Audiences" (e.g., children, repeaters,
drunks, jerks, and -- ta-da -- The Exposer), "Promoting," "Selling,"
sample contracts, and advice on selecting material for such venues.
Charles, Kirk Manual of Restaurant Magic
(1987, Conjurers' Press)
[SD] Just what it sounds like: advice on performing in restaurants --
Foreword by Eugene Burger. Sections cover preparation, booking,
selling, and, of most concern, the actual working of such an audience.
As opposed to standing up and walking around, it is likely you'll be
sitting at individual tables with a small group (though some may end
up behind you). It talks about getting tips and getting away from a
group politely, too.
Ulman, Al Business of Restaurant Magic
[RD] This covers much of the same ground as Kirk Charles's book. Lots
of sound advice for starting out as a restaurant magician.
11. Performing for Children
Easley, Bert Doing Magic for Youngsters
(1972, D. Robbins)
[RD] From the style, I think this was written much earlier than 1972.
Even so, it contains a wealth of advice that is valid today.
Ginn, David Children Laugh Louder
(1978, Scarlett Green)
[RD] Basically a collection of routines and gags that Mr. Ginn has
used (in 300 shows per year) and found to be amusing for school-age
children. Some very useful ideas. I've used his "Silk Illusion"
opener with good results.
Ginn, David Professional Magic for Children
(1976, Scarlett Green)
[RD] Lots of intelligent advice from an expert. Tells you how to
construct a show for children, including proper sequencing of effects.
Also includes several routines to illustrate the points. Get this one
before you get Children Laugh Louder.