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Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card Magic

reviewed by Christopher Reynolds (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 29 July, 2022)

Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card MagicIt's hard to believe there was a time when Dai Vernon didn't exist, and his name still casts such a large shadow over card magic thirty years after his death.

I feel almost embarrassed about writing a review for Inner Secrets Of Card Magic. What could a ham-and-egger like myself possibly have to say about professor Dai Vernon that better men than me haven't already said? Is it even necessary to write another gushing puff piece extolling the genius of a man who many consider the Pablo Picasso of card magic?

The answer is yes, and I'll tell you why.

I never knew the man or currently know anyone who did know him. Nor have I ever studied under his former protegees like Ricky Jay or Richard Turner.

I've only read about him over the years, and his name pops up like a bad case of herpes in so many magic books that I started to loathe him. I've consciously gone out of my way to avoid anything related to him.

And this complete lack of hero-worshipping makes me the perfect candidate to look at Vernon's work with a fresh eye and give an unbiased review.

I've learned that if you try to take your skills with a pack of cards to the next level, steering clear of Dai Vernon is impossible. So, I decided it was finally time to wave the white flag of surrender and put my willful ignorance and prejudice aside. And brother, let me tell you, am I ever glad I did.

At first, I was a bit hesitant. Vernon's oeuvre has been so mythologized over the years that I was expecting a perplexing dissertation on quantum physics. No person wants to feel that they're too stupid to comprehend a card trick. But as I worked through the chapters, cards in hand, I realized that the only thing I had to fear was fear itself.

This ease of understanding is partly due to co-writer Lewis Ganson. I've read other works by Ganson, and all share a common trait: clear, unambiguous descriptions that leave the reader with a complete grasp of the text.

That's not to say that I didn't find many of the sleights difficult. I found myself regularly dropping cards all over the floor. Some of the moves might even take months to master. But you can safely dismiss any fears that the material in Inner Secrets Of Card Magic is too complex. In Chapter Two: A Little Thought Required, a few tricks require zero sleight-of-hand, relying instead on subtle moves and misdirection.

Even if you were to read this book and not practice one move in it, Vernon's sly sense of humor and breadth of historical knowledge turn what could have been a tedious exercise into something fun and enjoyable.

I've now read the book three days in a row. It's so full of exciting, inventive ideas and subtle touches that I experiment with the information at hand like a mad scientist until my hands begin to ache.

I feel like a guitar player discovering Jimi Hendrix for the first time.

Do I have anything negative to say about this book? No, I don't. But let me make a recommendation that may ruffle some feathers.

After reading Inner Secrets Of Card Magic cover to cover, I believe that only those with a high reading comprehension level will have an easy time grasping this work. While simple to understand, the text has complex sentence structures and is peppered with words like "commence" and "endeavor," which may be over a casual reader's head.

If a college freshman's reading level is too difficult for you, I suggest you purchase a DVD or download one of the many videos featuring Vernon's work. Otherwise, you'll be in for a frustrating time.

If forced to list any faults, it's this: the photos illustrating some sleights can be grainy. But a lack of hi-def photography is a minor, practically nonexistent point to quibble over.

This ebook is more than a bargain at the going price of $9.90. It's the year 2022, and inflation is at a record high. The other day ago, I spent almost eleven dollars on a loaf of bread and two dozen eggs. In the future, if I have to choose between spending my money on food or Dai Vernon, then I choose Vernon.

If you love card magic and take it seriously, buy this book. Now!