(Close Window)
Topic: History of Magic
Message: Posted by: epsilon97 (Jun 24, 2012 07:26PM)
Hello all,

As I read more and more about magic, one topic that keeps piquing my interest is the history of magic. Do any of you know good books on the history of magic? I am less interested in stage magic, but instead the history of sleights and close up conjuring. I am also more interested in 20th and 21st century magic. What are the best sources for this information?

-Fred
Message: Posted by: motown (Jun 24, 2012 09:58PM)
Most of the books that I've read on the history of magic have dealt with all facets of the art. One that I would suggest is the Dai Vernon biograhphy by David Ben. His career pretty much spand close-up magic in the twentieth century.
Message: Posted by: epsilon97 (Jun 25, 2012 05:56AM)
Thanks Motown. I will check out the Dai Vernon bio.
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Jun 25, 2012 12:02PM)
Magic 1400s-1950s by Steinmeyer is an expensive book but well worth it. Milbourne Christopher wrote a cupola history books and then there is the PBS series, The Art of Magic, which is pretty cheap on Amazon. You can type in the above titles and try the words, "magic history" on Amazon.
Another source for magic history is catalogs. You can pick up some of the old Tannen and Abbott's catalogs on Amazon for less than $10. They will give you an idea of what was popular back then. And then there is this:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=461950&forum=41&9

A subscription to Genii or the Conjuring Arts Research will grant you access to the old magazines, and that to me is the best history source, hearing it from those that participate in it.
Message: Posted by: Payne (Jun 26, 2012 09:35AM)
"The Annals of Conjuring" By Sidney Clarke is considered by many to be the definitive work on the history of magic.

I would also look into the works by Edwin Dawes and Ricky Jay.


Steinmeyers Hiding the Elephant, the Curious Deception and his latest work on Thurston are also good reads.

I really don't know of any works that specifically cover the creation or developments of sleights nor are focused on the history of close up magic. The Magician and the Cardsharp is the only one that comes to mind that is centered around a move.
Message: Posted by: Andrew M (Jun 26, 2012 01:03PM)
I'd also recommend Jim Steinmeyer's "Hiding the Elephant" and "The Glorious Deception" (not "Curious" - you may be confusing it with the incident of the dog in the night time!). They're a mix of history, wrapped up in good story telling. I haven't read his one on Thurston yet.

Andrew