Review for The Annotated Erdnase
Ed Marlo felt magicians have very short memory. We often use concepts without knowing where they originated from. I can testify to that fact because recently I met a magician who could not vocalize the proper terms for each sleight-of-hand technique he used. Whenever he wanted me to realize what move he was thinking about, he just did it and said "that one." Furthermore, whenever I spoke the magic language, he always asked me to show the move so he could say "oh that!"
The Annotated Erdnase is your reference to all of the sleights created since "Expert At The Card Table" was written (back in 1902). It is simply a copy of "Expert At The Card Table" with additional sidenotes from Darwin Ortiz. For those of you who don’t know, "Expert At The Card Table" is an extraordinary book offering technical description on gambling sleights such as false cuts, false shuffles, and shifts (what magicians call the pass). These sleights described however assumes the performance is at the card table. Because it was written back a century ago, it needed an update. What the reader will find valuable is the references to many other modern, variant sleights created since then. Let me tell you, this book is loaded with information. This is one book card conjurors need in their library. If you wanted to know everything related to the slip cut, this book will let you in on that! I should mention a different book called "Revelations." The format is the same only it was written by the "Professor" Dai Vernon. In that book the focus was on the technical moves themselves, providing tips overlooked by the original author.
The Annotated Erdnase isn’t just a reference guide; it also contains informational tidbits regarding the book itself (like how many technical errors the author of "Expert At The Card Table" made). Also included is documents from Martin Gardner concerning the identity of the original author, who we still don’t know. If you’re interested on that topic, I know that new research has been done that is not in this book. Check out Genii and Magic Magazine – I believe sometime in 1999-2000.
I give this book also an A+ because it is readable, rereadable, and loaded with essential information. It will appeal to people who are interested in the history of sleight-of-hand as well as people who are looking for gambling techniques. If you’re a flashy, finger-flinging type of magician wondering if the sleight-of-hand in this book is good, look elsewhere. The sleight-of-hand techniques described have their roots in gambling.
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