History of Magic

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 09/16/03 10:52 AM

Hi all, I am a beginner just starting out in Magic and i am fascinated by this wonderful art, But what i would like to know is can anyone tell me a good book to buy on the History of Magic. Thanks

Postby Sal Perrotta » 09/16/03 12:03 PM

Firsttly, there are the two "big boys"



...both are worth finding and reading!!

Also by Milbourne Christopher, PANORAMA OF MAGIC...a shorter work than ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, and easier to find!

I also would recommend PAUL DANIELS AND THE HISTORY OF MAGIC by John Fisher. A underrated contemporary book that has a surprising amount of interesting history!

And finally, the book that started my interest in magic history...HISTORY OF CONJURING AND MAGIC by Henry Ridgely Evans...it is hard to come by but well worth it!

Each of the above also has a bibliography for further reading! Good luck to you!
Sal Perrotta
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Postby Guest » 09/16/03 12:05 PM

My favorite has always been "The Illustrated History of Magic" by Milbourne Christopher. Pinted in the 60's and may still be out there. Also Milbourne Christopher did a smaller version called "Panorama of Magic". That was printed by Dover, who reprints a lot of magic books.
Good Luck. Ed.

Postby John Smetana » 09/16/03 01:50 PM

Originally posted by The Magician:
Hi all, I am a beginner just starting out in Magic and i am fascinated by this wonderful art, But what i would like to know is can anyone tell me a good book to buy on the History of Magic. Thanks
Will wonders never cease? Someone just starting out in magic, having an interest in the history of this crazy and fantastic business, rather than asking how "something" is done..How refreshing..a rarity indeed. My friend, I wish you the very very best and as always,

Best thoughts,
John Smetana
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John Smetana
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Postby Guest » 09/16/03 02:28 PM

Hey, Clarke's Annals of Conjuring is pretty good, too.

Postby Guest » 09/16/03 02:44 PM

How do we know he's not the guy who tried to cut David Blaines water hose?
Steve V

Postby Erik Hemming » 09/16/03 03:06 PM

O Magician-
Without knowing what you've read, it's difficult to give suggestions that will, with any certainty, "hit the spot." That being said--with nods to the gentlefolk who have written thoughtful responses above--here are some more suggestions:

I think any student of magic--but particularly people delighted by history--would be well served by the Dover reprints. They are cheap--and truly wonderful--stuff.

Albert Hopkins "Magic, Stage Illusions, Special Effects and Trick Photography" is still out there for around $14.00. 556 pages of great history, illustrations, and an interesting multi-lingual bibliography. Dover 0-486-26561-7 $13.95

Milbourne Christopher "Magic: A Picture History" is an abridged version of the larger Christopher work listed above. At $15.00, it is a delightful, but less substantive overview. 0486263738

Edwin Sachs "Sleight of Hand" This is not truly a history. Instead, it is a historical document which ANYBODY interested in either history or sleight of hand should read. $10.95 048623911X

Gibbon & Young "Houdini on Magic" (Some of the cognoscenti are cringing.) But it's really worth a look. It's an edited selection detailing a rich variety of historical information on escapes, spiritualism and the history of magic. It has a particular slant--but what book doesn't? $7.95 0486203840

Other basic stuff:

The Art of Magic by Waldman/Layden/ J.I. Swiss is a wonderful paper version of the PBS series.

Jim Steinmeyer's forthcoming book "Hiding the Elephant How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear" (0-7867-1226-0 $26.00) Is one of the best "overviews" of magical history written in the last 50 years, and it will be available in a month or so. Check your local book shop.

If you haven't read Ricky Jay, find him and read him. It's not "just magic." It's Just Magic.

If you have travelled through these books, and want more, look for names like Jim Steinmeyer, Mike Caveney, John Booth, Edwin Dawes, anything put out by Miracle Factory; many of the books published by our host, Mr. Kaufman; the reprints Joe Stevens is still offering; the books published by Mr. Minch at Hermetic Press; old issues of Genii, the Linking Ring, etc. Many-- too many--to name them all or do justice to them.

If you like reading online there are possibilities that boggle the mind. Write "ebook" in a reply, and someone will find you and point the way. :-)

Or comb the pages right here. You've discovered an amazing resource just by logging on. Pose a question here about magic history, and some one WILL know the answer.

But I digress...and in digression traverse the gap to silence.

Here's hoping you find something good to read....

Erik Hemming
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Location: Madison & Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Postby Guest » 09/24/03 10:48 AM

Thanks for all you replies it is very much appreciated. Can anybody tell me were i can get magic on E Books

Postby CHRIS » 09/24/03 11:07 PM

Originally posted by The Magician:
Can anybody tell me were i can get magic on E Books
For the largest selection of magic ebooks(currently 153 ebooks) got to Lybrary.com (www.lybrary.com)

Martin Breese and Geno Munari also released a few CDs, mainly with magic magazines. These are available through magic retailers.

You will also find online a few interesting resources, most notably Jon Racherbaumers offerings, and Marko's The Learned Pig Project. Just use Google to find these and a few other minor places.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time
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