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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A turn of the page » » Favorite Magic History Book? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Victor Brisbin
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Washington, DC
428 Posts

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It's my opinion that Magic, more than other arts/hobbies/popular entertainments, has a fascination with its history. Every book or major article by magicians almost always includes how they got started in Magic, their first "Mysto Magic Set," etc. General magic histories are interesting, magic biographies can be riveting.

It's nice to see how many books have been mentioned here that are also some of my personal favorites, volumes in my library that I wouldn't think of selling to pay the mortgage. I'd like to add David Charvet's books to the list. The latest Alexander book, his book on Jack Gwynne, and The Great Virgil all are fascinating reads that have a home on my shelves. The Magic of Lee Grabel, by Ormond McGill is another intriguing behind the scenes look at the life and innovative illusions of a man who was extremely successful with a large show. He then translated that success into his other business ventures. Stan Kramien's "The Illusion Show Business," in either print or cd-rom is a must read for anyone contemplating a career in Magic.

What makes a book on Magic's history and biographies valuable to me is the very real and sometimes heart-wrenching accounts of the struggles, setbacks, and adversities the "greats" had to overcome in order to build an act, stay in business, and bring real entertainment to their audiences. No instant overnight successes; no stories of those who have been in Magic a short time but feel compelled to put out books and materials full of their "own" expertise on performing.

A well-rounded Magic education should include studying those who have gone before. One thing about History, it always repeats. Reading it can help us to avoid some mistakes, and it enriches our appreciation of our craft.
"It is better to practice a little than talk a lot." - Muso Kokushi
Rennie
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Inner circle
Manteca, California
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An historical type book I really enjoyed was "Dunningers Brainbusters" I really enjoyed more the history behind one of the greatest mentalist / showman more so than the actual alleged methods he used to accomplished these effects.He was a very interesting person and owed a lot to someone named David Lustig.
Rennie
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve it is not.......
magicwolverine
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This was a fun thread to re-read. Some great books discussed throughout the years.

My favorite magic history book remains Illusion Show (David Bamberg)
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