Espionage, Deception and Magic

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Joe Mckay
Posts: 1298
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Espionage, Deception and Magic

Postby Joe Mckay » February 4th, 2018, 10:22 pm

I was doing some googling and stumbled across an interesting looking book. It is by Bart Whaley who is famous among magicians for his Encyclopedic Dictionary of Magic and his book about the search for the real identity of Erdnase.

Well - it turns out Bart was high up in the world of intelligence and espionage as well. He wrote a book covering the use of deception, outs and double-crosses in espionage:

It looks like an interesting book and I am going to check it out some time soon. I just hope it is not too dry and academic. Anyway - I thought others might be interested in this book. And I am curious if anyone here has read it as well?

Here is the amazon description of the book. You can see why I thought it might appeal to magicians. And equally - Bart's background in magic shines through as well.

This title combines two of spymaster Barton Whaley's most potent analyses of the craft: Turnabout: Crafting the Double-Cross and When Deception Fails: The Theory of Outs. Each examination dives into extensive case studies to establish not only bedrock understandings of essential espionage principals, but also creates guidance for their practical application on both individual and governmental scales.

Deception is a basic tactic used by allies and enemies alike, but when both protagonist and antagonist ply the same trade, it is the master of the double-cross who comes out the victor. Turnabout examines exactly how to turn the tables on an opponent and use their own deception against them. Through 38 case studies this monograph dissects the double-cross to reveal the psychological battle of wits at its core.

No matter how well crafted, however, there is always a chance that a deception will fail. But failure is not the end of a deception, and even failed deception operations can yield results. When Deception Fails pores over 60 case studies to determine why a deception will fail, steps to prevent a failed operation, and how to turn that failure into a success. Through his analysis of the Theory of Outs, Whaley identifies the cunning required to recapture the initiative rather than allowing an error to turn an operation into a total loss.

Like I say - I just hope it is not too academic. Whenever I see the word monograph - 9 times out of 10 it is gonna' be a dry read!

Richard Hatch
Posts: 1876
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Providence, Utah

Re: Espionage, Deception and Magic

Postby Richard Hatch » February 5th, 2018, 3:00 am

Thanks for bringing that to our attention, it does look interesting. The Introduction by John McLaughlin, former director of the CIA and a proficient magician, is available to read as a preview of the book on the amazon site and makes extensive references to magic, calling Whaley's books the espionage equivalent of Charles Hopkins' classic Outs, Precautions, and Challenges in magic.

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