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For more than a generation The Amateur Magician's Handbook has been the acknowledged classic text for conjurers, both beginners and advanced. Even David Copperfield recommended it during one of his TV specials. Literally thousands of magicians found their love for magic through this book. Several of these magicians are today recognized performers. This fourth edition, expanded as well as thoroughly revised, and introduced by Milbourne Christopher, includes a section where the Amazing Randi contributes his experience using video for self-coaching.
This new edition teaches, briskly yet carefully, with hundreds of illustrations, all the skills and secrets of the wizard's repertoire: reading minds, pulling rabbits from hats, turning red handkerchiefs green, dissolving konts, pouring drinks from empty jars, dealing yourself all the aces, finding silver dollars in the air, to name a few.
The Amateur Magician's Handbook stands alone in showing how and why magic works as entertainment: how spectators think and how you must think, and feel, to make puzzling tricks pleasing.
A comprehensive new section covers the difficult but rewarding (and potentially profitable) art of entertaining children.
The final sections tell you what you need to know about conjuring beyond the tricks: comedy; pantomime; music. An extensive bio-bibliography includes not only the great conjurers of the past but also the up-and-coming conjurers of today.
Lastly, author Henry Hay offers guidance on making magic make money for you. "If I hear of someone's studying The Amateur Magician's Handbook and then climbing out of the amateur class by getting paid for a show," says Henry Hay, "I shall be satisfied."
Table of Contents
1st edition 1950; 4th edition 1982; 424 pages
word count: 157813 which is equivalent to 631 standard pages of text
Reviewed by Cristian Vidrascu
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Friday 12 July, 2013
One of the best books on magic, the only issue I have is with the title: the target audience is not limited to amateurs. If I were dictator of the universe, I would make it required reading for any type of entertainer, especially magicians and mentalists.
Covered within are sleight of hand magic versus "head magic" (where ingenious methods not involving sleight of hand are used). There is emphasis on cards, coins, the usual, but what differentiates this from other books on magic is how clearly the psychology of magic is explained. You could tell the author was very sharp, his thought process was very thorough, and his writing style was extremely clear and to the point.
Reviewed by Grandpa Chet Cox
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Monday 02 August, 2010
The BEST single magic book written, bar none. Its only competition is any volume from Tarbell's Course -- and I'd recommend the full Tarbell Course before any one volume.
This will not only take a person from beginner to professional, but will improve the act of any professional who studies it. Bob Cassidy calls it the best introduction to mentalism, and I daresay one could say that about any of the genres the book covers.
Don't forget to pick up the book ABOUT June Mussey (Hays) -- his real life was just as magical as his wizardry.
We need a rating better than "Good" for this book.
Reviewed by Chris Walden
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Monday 28 January, 2008
This book was what led me from the juvenile section to the grown-up book section in my library as a kid. It was incredibly tough trying to learn sleight of hand with few pictures (by today's standards) and a whole lot of narrative.
Yet between these covers was a world of magic that I had never imagined. It went far beyond the "make at home" approach I had seen and showed me the full range of sleight-of-hand, mind reading and stage illusions. It not only talked about doing tricks but told stories about what it was like to be a magician and to be around magicians. It taught about the work required to do this stuff right and made it clear that it was not something that would happen in an afternoon.
I read and reread that book. When I found a paperback version I snagged it. I finally got a hardback version which I treasure. Now it's here in beautiful, portable, searchable electronic form. It is not the best book for learning any particular branch of the art. But it is a perfect book for acquainting someone with the idea of magic as an art form and the rich palette it provides.
Own it. Read it. Grow from it.
Reviewed by Larry Brodahl
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Wednesday 23 January, 2008
One of the absolute best books ever written. It concerns itself not only with how the tricks are done, but why. It talks about when apparatus is better than sleight of hand, and when it's not. Some of the coin work seems supremely complicated, but every book should leave you with something further to learn. This book covers about every basic sleight imaginable, along with many prop items. The updated chapter on close up stuff is also very nice.