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30 Magic Books: For the Beginner M-O


This article is from the Magic FAQ, by Paul Nielsen nielsen@vulture.eecs.umich.edu with numerous contributions by others.

30 Magic Books: For the Beginner M-O

MacDougall, Michael Card Mastery
(1975, Tannen)

[SD] This book contains card "manipulation" skills, especially for
gambling, and is actually material from the late 1930's. However, the
major attraction of the book is that it includes the complete text of
Erdnase's The Expert at the Card Table.

[RD] Wrt Erdnase, you might also consider Dai Vernon's "Revelations",
which is basically a page by page commentary and explanation of the
Erdnase book. It also contains the complete Erdnase text.

Mentzer, Jerry Counts, Cuts, Moves, and Subtlety
(1977, Mentzer)

[SD] An important text on important card manipulation, focusing, as
the title suggests, on ways to false count cards, cut them, spread
them to conceal cards, etc. Worthwhile having, though the material is
covered many other places, simply because it is all here in one place.

Mentzer, Jerry Basic Skill With Cards
(1981, Mentzer)

[SD] A very useful booklet covering false cuts and shuffles, controls,
sleights (like the "glide"), forces, and palming.

Mentzer, Jerry Fechter

[DP] A tribute to the late great Eddie Fechter, legend of the Forks
Hotel. Lots of Fechter bits and tricks. Most things are simple and
direct, wasting no time so that the spectators will buy another beer.
No gaffes, no stories. Some things are brilliant, most good. Easy to
difficult. Includes entire text of "Magician Nitely".

Minch, Stephen The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, Vol I
(1991(?), L&L Publishing)

[SD] The objective of this two-volume set of Elmsley is to cover his
work completely. Only this first volume is available at this point.
Besides lots of interesting card work, including Elmsley's own
explanations of his "ghost" count known to most as the Elmsley Count,
there is a lecture "On the Theory and Practice of Magic." Minch states
that Vol II will contain, among other things, the performance portion
of the lecture in full detail. Minch says this lecture was highly
regarded when Elmsley toured the U.S.A. many years ago.

[RD] An outstanding book. Elmsley was a subtle thinker, (he's still
alive, but not active in magic) and many of his creations are simply
brilliant. A few of the effects in this book (which contains dozens
of tricks) involve more "dealing through the deck" than is popular
right now, but I think that for the right audience, these tricks go
over quite well. Favourite trick: Serendipity (a fantastic

Minch, Stephen Vernon Chronicles, The vols. 1-3
(198?, 198?, 198?, L&L Publ.)
& Lost Inner Secrets Volume 1
(1987, L&L Publishing)

[SD] Several books of stuff from Dai Vernon, the patriarch of LA's
Magic Castle. Mostly cards. Some stuff for the person just beyond
the beginner stage, but mostly effects of an intermediate nature.
Includes classics like Twisted Aces and Triumph.

Minch, Stephen Daryl's Ambitious Card Omnibus
(1987, ?)

[SD] (Actually written in 1985.) Contains an entire history of the
Ambitious Card effect and shows various ways to present/use it. An
excellent book on a single effect and its variations.

Minch, Stephen Larry Jennings' Neoclassics
(1987, L&L Publishing)

[SD] Subtitled "Three Complete Lesson in Professional Card
Presentation," this book has three effects embellishing more familiar
themes: the card in the orange, the spectator finds the aces, and
cards across.

Nash, Martin Ever So Sleightly
& Any Second Now
& Sleight Unseen
(1975, 77, 79, Micky Hades International)

[SD] Subtitled "The Professional Card Technique of Martin A. Nash,"
this series covers, as the subtitle suggests, covers many basic -- and
not-so-basic -- card sleights and techniques, using effects to
demonstrate them. A good book for the intermediate magician, but
pretty technical and detailed for a newcomer.

Ortiz, Darwin Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table
(?, Kaufman & Greenberg)

[SD] Ortiz is a sheer genius with cards and gambling tricks. He
lectures to police and security folks, consults with casinos, etc.
The stuff in this book is really hard to do, for the most part.
Seeing Ortiz is better than reading about what he does. But there are
a few things here that are within the realm of human possibility!

[RD] Favourite trick: Modern Jazz Aces.

Osterlind, Richard Breakthrough Card System

[RD] A mathematical system for stacking a deck that leaves it looking
totally random (and hence examinable), but which permits all of the
effects possible with Si Stebbins, Eight Kings, etc, and other stacks
that will not bear inspection. At $5, this is a bargoon! I always
carry this with me, and use it for a "just think of a card"
presentation. It astonishes.

Ouellet, Gary Procontrol

[RD] If you buy this for the advertised effect, be prepared to be VERY
disappointed. Exactly the same technique is explained in complete
detail in Bill Severn's Magic Workshop, which is probably in your
public library. However, Procontrol contains a tutorial on the spread
pass which is great - it's worth the price of the book, if you are
interested in simple and deceptive methods for the pass (so who


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