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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lou Gallo was an expert at leading magicians down the garden path and turning the hose on them. If you are looking for principles that will allow you to fry your fellow magi, this book is an incredible resource.
The very BEST. One of the best classics on magic. Joe Berg was a real pro.He knew as much about the profession as any magician. His book is one of the most sought after magic collectables. Anyone who has one of these books should hold on to it tightly.
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