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on October 16, 2002
... I bought this book about six or seven years ago after reading it at the library. It is honestly one of the best books EVER written on the subject. The people that didn't like it were expecting James Randi to give out the secrets of magic, which understandably (and I believe correctly), he does not do because of the nature of his profession. I agree with him not to give out the secrets of many years of hard work, and commend him on his knowledge of magic, both past and present.
This book is meant as a history of the craft and not as a "learn magic tricks book". If you would care to look at the cover of the book, in not so small print it states "Being a Definitive History of the Venerable Arts of Sorcery, Prestidigitation, Wizardry, etc.." In no place on the cover does it mention learning magic tricks or revealing the secrets of the trade.
So please, for all the conjurers, magic historians, and anyone else who enjoys the craft in this world. You CAN learn about magic and enjoy this book immensely. I think it's safe to say that you will.
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on April 3, 2000
There are no tricks in this book, but lots of great information about magic and magicians. It is beautifully illustrated to boot.
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on October 13, 2015
Several reviewers seem to think this book is about learning magic tricks, but it's actually about an insider's remembrance of some great performers. Randi combines facts in stories in an entertaining way that gives readers more than just a list of famous magicians, but also some insight of what it was it was like to be a performer during the great age of magic.
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on September 27, 2012
The other day I picked up my old, worn copy of Randi James' marvelous, witty history of magic and detailed in his arch raconteuring about the profession that I once knew so well. The book endures. And that--poof!--is all.
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on April 2, 2000
This is an excellent, well written book by James Randi. I recommend any of Randi's other books they have all also been great reading so far. He is a master at debunking frauds like uri geller, someones gotta do it.
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on August 22, 2010
The Amazing Randi is an amazingly versatile and knowledgable writer, conjuror and critic of pseudoscience and supernatural claims. His history of the honorable profession of conjuring is full of interesting material, but the presentation is somewhat disorderly and in parts repetitive. It looks like Randi wanted to present his wonderful stuff under all aspects at once - chronological, geographical, typological, personal etc - and this method simply does not work well. For all this, the book is very interesting and worth it's price.
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on December 15, 2014
Returned
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on January 8, 2014
This book is horrendous. Mr Randy is a fraud. I have heard him talk for over 20 hours. Mr Randy would have been saying the earth was flat. Just because he could not wrap his head around the concept that it was round back in the 1500s. Don't waste your money on this book. People have met his paranormal challenge. He still refuses to pay them. He has made a life off of trying to disprove things. In a couple of years his kind will be the one percent. I can tell by voice analysis that he does not even believe half of what he is saying. I've even read his micro expressions. He is a fake, in every aspect.
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on February 15, 2002
Read my lips: "NON-TEACHING". Yeah! This book tells you some conjuring tricks (how they supposedly appear before the audience) used by who and when but it does not provide adequate information sufficient to know how to perform the tricks. In other words, this is a "ZERO SECRETS revealed" book.
Read the whole book and you will still unable to learn any secrets, unable to perform the tricks mentioned in the book. This is more like a story book.
Lots of people write better stories than Randi. Pretty useless book. Don't waste your time and money on this one. If I could, I would give ZERO stars for this book.
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on October 27, 2004
Randi doesn't believe in conjuring or if he ever tried he never figured it out, so if you expect him to teach you how to conjure in this book - you'll be thoroughly disappointed.

Oh, it reminds me of Freud - he had some good insights, and he has attempted to use hypnosis, but has never figured it out - and since he failed, he was very much trying to put it down.

Randi is the same - in a way. He has never learned the "real" magic, so he can't stand the idea that there are people out there who have more talent that he does. :)

The only skill that Randi has mastered is the art of deception - that is what magicians of his callibre do - direct your attention one way, so he can trick you while you're not watching. He has mastered the art of "fraud" himself, so now he's very much trying to direct the lens upon others - this way he can still stick "Esq" after his name - oh, I have not had the pleasure to know the man with a great ego and so full of fluff as Randi (nobody home, I'm telling you).
44 comments2 of 80 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse