Review by Tyler for Encyclopedia of Playing Card Flourishes by Gerald P. Cestkowski

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Review by Tyler for Encyclopedia of Playing Card Flourishes by Gerald P. Cestkowski
Review by Tyler for Encyclopedia of Playing Card Flourishes by Gerald P. Cestkowski
5 out of 5

The Holy Grail of Card Flourishes

This book takes you through the basics to the full blown knuckle busters that only Jerry and God can do. My fingers were in traction for weeks and I was only to page 30 something. Seriously, this opus is the first and last word on card flourishes. I would highly recommend it to beginner and expert alike. After watching the dvd that I purchased with the book and finding the energy to lift my jaw off the floor, I found that with hard work and lots of practice, I was performing some of the more difficult moves with more skill than I thought I had in my pethetic hands. (I was born with 2 left thumbs 🙂 The moves are taught and explained very thoroughly, so well that even an idiot like myself was able to follow along. Also, thankfully there were thousands of pictures that illustrated each point in the flourish. Phew! Highly recommended.

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Review by Daryl Maddox for Amateur Magician's Handbook, The by Henry Hay

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Review by Daryl Maddox for Amateur Magician's Handbook, The by Henry Hay
Review by Daryl Maddox for Amateur Magician's Handbook, The by Henry Hay
5 out of 5

An Invaluable Text

Henry Hay’s "The Amateur Magician’s Handbook" has been a treasured guide into the realm of magic for several decades now. I have had a copy in my library for forty years and still use it. This is an absolute must-have for anyone aspiring to be good at their magic. Henry Hay is the pen name of J. Barrows Mussey who was a master of sleight of hand, especially coins. Not only are "tricks" presented but the needed philosophy of the magic involved, guidelines for practicing, as well as presentation and routining. In addition to all this, it is very good reading and the first page will quickly ‘pull you in’.

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Review by Marc Rehula for Try The Impossible by Simon Aronson

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Review by Marc Rehula for Try The Impossible by Simon Aronson
Review by Marc Rehula for Try The Impossible by Simon Aronson
5 out of 5

Achieve the Impossible

Aronson outdoes himself here. He has already written some of the best card magic books ever written, including what is likely the most popular memorized stack. But this has to be his best book yet.

Consider the first trick in the book. Work through the clear, thorough description of the method. You will fool even yourself! The UnDo Influence is a revolutionary principle that is counter-intuitive, so it produces a lovely effect however you use it.

The middle section of the book has some wonderful ‘miscellaneous’ material. Then there is a section of wonderful material utilizing the Aronson Stack. But get this: You don’t need to memorize the stack! Not for ANY of the wonderful routines.

The routines are deceptively easy. So easy that many magicians will dismiss the material as ‘self working’ but don’t be one of them! Several sleights are suggested and explained, but this is not sleight heavy material. The emphasis is on the impact of the effect. So if you are a beginner, wondering how to break into the intermediate level, this is a perfect place to start. Create startling, original effects without difficult sleights.

Aronson is widely respected among the top magicians, but interestingly his material is not as often performed as it should be. After working through the routines in Try the Impossible you will agree. But then you won’t tell anyone about the book because you will want to keep these golden secrets for yourself.

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Review by Marc Rehula for Simon Says by Simon Lovell

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Review by Marc Rehula for Simon Says by Simon Lovell
Review by Marc Rehula for Simon Says by Simon Lovell
5 out of 5

. . . Buy This Book!

Simon Says contains excellent material designed to be performed. (That may elicit a Duh, but in my experience most books are designed for magicians, not audiences!) Some are easy and some are intermediate, but they all are direct, and Simon’s writing style is very humorous. Highly recommended.

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Review by Anonymous for Collected Almanac, The by Richard Kaufman

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Review by Anonymous for Collected Almanac, The by Richard Kaufman
Review by Anonymous for Collected Almanac, The by Richard Kaufman
5 out of 5

Definately worth a look.

This is a wonderful book featuring the complete compilation of Richards Almanac, a monthly (and eventually quarterly) magazine that ran from 1982 to 1985.

First of all, there are "bonus" items worth a mention. The book starts off with an interesting history of the magazine, why it was made, original plans for its name and so on. There are also a few extra tricks that did not make it into the final magazine, and for the sake of curiosity, the first issue in its Japanese form.

The magazines themselves are very good, featuring wonderful magic from many of the best magicians, including Dingle, Sankey, Roth, Jennings and many others. There are simply too many good peices of magic to describe here.

Finally, the Bull column is an interesting one, which often talks about the then current events in the magic world, so it is nice to look back and read about them.

Highly recommended to all.

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Review by Anonymous for Apocalypse: Vols: 16-20 by Harry Lorayne

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Review by Anonymous for Apocalypse: Vols: 16-20 by Harry Lorayne
Review by Anonymous for Apocalypse: Vols: 16-20 by Harry Lorayne
5 out of 5

The final volume.

This, strangely, was the first (and so far, only) volume of this epic compilation that I bought. Please bear in mind that I haven’t read the other volumes, if you think this will affect my review.

You will buy this book for the magic, no doubt. And there is tons of it. I challenge any close-up magician to look through this book and NOT find a trick or an idea they would use.

The overall quality of magic is very good, though there may be some stinkers. Of course, this is down to personal opinion, different strokes for different folks, whatever tickles your pickle. Suffice to say, there is something in here for everyone.

I’ve read in other reviews that this is one of the weaker volumes of the collection, if so, I can’t wait to read the rest. There is plenty to play with in this book.

Negatives? Not many that I can think of. The magic is taught very well, as you can expect from Harry Lorayne. If you can ignore his self-infatuation, that is. It is sometimes annoying when reading the book to see Lorayne talk about how great he is. Still, he manages explanations VERY well, and things are easy to follow (yep, even those rubber band tricks).

Another negative might be the size. The book is very large, and while not arm-strainingly heavy, it can be quite cumbersome to read.

For magical content alone, this is a wonderful book, and worth the price tag.

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Review by Michael Easler for Arcade Dreams by Jon Racherbaumer, Ed Marlo

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Review by Michael Easler for Arcade Dreams by Jon Racherbaumer, Ed Marlo
Review by Michael Easler for Arcade Dreams by Jon Racherbaumer, Ed Marlo
4 out of 5

A Surprising Stroll Through Marlo’s Mind

This is a volume that breaks the usual mindset magicians hold toward Marlo’s work. Far from the usual sterile descriptions of Marlo’s card effects, this intriguing volume offers his handling for some common, non-card items. Having briefly worked in a friend’s magic shop myself, I was surprised to learn that Marlo had been a demonstrator in a Chicago magic shop peddling slum magic to the masses. This book reveals many clever variations Marlo developed to deceive even the wise ones with items like the ball and vase, and color-vision.

While not diminishing his rightful iconic status, this book embues Marlo with a surprising humanity. The anecdotes included demonstrate he was quite a rascal, intellectually obssessed with fooling all and sundry.

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Review by Caine for Card Magic of Nick Trost, The by Nick Trost

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Review by Caine for Card Magic of Nick Trost, The by Nick Trost
Review by Caine for Card Magic of Nick Trost, The by Nick Trost
4 out of 5

Good material – However, not hard hitting…

I originally purchased this book because it discusses many slieghts used in most card magic. I was also short on budget and couldn’t afford the entire "Card College (Volumes 1-5)" by Roberto Giobbi at the time of purchase.
The routines contained within "The Card Magic of Nick Trost" are great for the historical card magician. There are lots of references to Dai Vernon and other past greats. Many of the routines are older and have been reworked by Trost to take on a contemporary flair at the time of publishing. However, due to the fact that most of the routines are fairly old they are somewhat lengthy and cumbersome in contrast with today’s fast paced, hard hitting street magic as seen by David Blaine or T.H.E.M.

If you’re looking for a nice collection of older, less common routines, this is a great book. I have adapted many of the routines for my own personal tastes. I find many of the routines contained herein work great with an older crowd, especially when you are in a sit-down, close-up environment where their attention is all yours.

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