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Magic: The Complete Course Paperback – November 8, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Every 10 or 20 years a book comes along that introduces a whole new generation to the art and craft of magic. This is it!"―Stan Allen, Editor-in-Chief, Magic Magazine

Review

"Finally, a book that brings the art of magic into the 21st century!"—Rick Merrill, 2006 World Champion of Magic
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; Pap/DVD edition (November 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761149872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761149873
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Joseph T. Page Jr. on November 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you could only buy one book on magic, this is the one. The price is a bargain for the information being provided. One of the many great features is a DVD which covers (i.e., presents & demonstrates) about a third of the effects addressed in the book. The quality of the book's language and photos is likewise outstanding. Joshua Jay can be proud of himself and his really wonderful book which is sure to become a classic in magic literature. He hits the nail on the head when he points out that people don't simply want to learn the secrets...but to learn how to perform the magic itself. I am trying to adopt many of the effects myself so I can share them with family and friends. The wonder of magic for me and many others is to allow ourselves to be children again...and Joshua Jay is helping many amateurs such as myself to share that joyful experience with others. Well done, young Mr. Jay!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
One doesn't judge a book like this by its style. This is too bad, really, because Jay's style is delightful. Nor does one judge it on the basis of such other "literary" criteria as humour, insight, or human interest, which is also unfortunate because, surprisingly, the book abounds in these as well. No, one buys a book like this for its ability to teach us, well, let's be frank, its ability to teach us how to make our friends look like idiots. (Sure, there are going to be some few who buy it to SERIOUSLY get a grounding in beginning magic, but, alas, they ARE few... and far between). Additionally, a large portion of the book's audience will probably be young people ("young" being in the eye of the beholder, but it has been my experience that we tend to lose either interest or simple dexterity as we age). So, the real tests of a book like this are: A) Are the tricks explained clearly and in an easily duplicable manner? B) Are there ENOUGH of them that DON'T require the hours of practice that any true afficianado of the art knows is necessary... but we really don't want to do? and C) Does it also contain a great DVD of over 2 hours in length that shows us how to do a lot of the tricks and, even if we don't want to do them ourselves, still is a heck of a lot of entertaining fun? The answer to all three of these is a resounding YES!!!!!! So, what are you waiting for? Buy this!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in that it is a nicely illustrated, easy-to-follow collection of about 100 magic tricks (or if you prefer "effects" ) that includes instruction both on "how to do it" and also the "how to present it." The tricks are well chosen and include lots of different effects, including tricks at the table, the office, card tricks, tricks you can do with kids, etc.

The suggested presentations are fast moving and entertaining -- there are no tricks where spectator spends endless amounts of time counting cards, etc. The DVD is very helpful in terms of showing both how to set up or do the trick (what the sleight of hand or misdirection is) and also what the presentation is as seen by the audience. Joshua is a good magician (you can see him at work on YouTube) and I enjoyed seeing how he presented old favorites such as the "Out of this World" card trick (truly a great trick in which he has added a very simple bit of misdirection that covers the one clunky bit in the standard routine).

This is a great book that a child (say around 10 ) could use -- tricks are graded by difficulty -- or that an adult familiar with magic would find interesting.

My only (small) complaint about the book is its very short "references" section -- It seems to cite only a few books (and no DVDs) aimed at the specialist (e.g., the 8-volume Tarbell course). Of course, there really aren't that many good intermediate books out there, but I would have added Bill Tarr's sleight of hand books or maybe "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" (out of print I believe).

This is a great book though at a great price, especially with the addition of the DVD.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
THE BOOK

I have read many magic books but many books show WHAT is being done but not necessarily HOW to perform it. Joshua Jay is a masterful artist, performer and teacher. His talents are well beyond his years. This book covers tricks in various settings and with different props to include mealtime magic, magic out of ordinary things, magic with money, magic for kids, magic by kids, card tricks, magic in the office, magic for large audiences and even magic using the internet.

The book is well organized into major sections. Each trick is organized in a clear, concise and easy to follow format. A list of necessary materials, difficulty level of the trick, the effect of the trick, the secret of the trick and how to perform the trick step by step is outlined. Each section is well illustrated with high quality photography, easy to follow sequences and concise captions. One of my favorite sections of the book is a series of magic tricks that you can perform yourself and the estimated time of performance.

Throughout the book, there are inserts that cover interesting historical facts related to magic and legendary magicians. The book is entertaining, informative and a great resource on the subject. It is well organized that people of any age can perform many of these tricks.

THE VIDEO

An instructional 480p DVD includes a menu for watching magic, learning magic (27 tricks), extras that includes tricks with traditional magic props, and a special 5 minute clip on how to carry out your performance, "Talk Magic". The video is high quality, professionally produced and is worth the price of the book alone. The menus are easy to navigate, and you can watch all or just selected lessons.

Watching the videos shows his work in action.
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