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Magic For Dummies - A Review
 
Magic for Dummies by David Pogue

    T his 370- page, soft cover book contains over 90 easy to perform tricks using everyday items. Not long ago I made-up a 'Magic for Dummies' book cover and glued it to another dummies book. During my act I mess-up, pull out the book and glance inside as if to review the instructions. At the time, there were maybe 12 "Dummies" titles and  most of them computer related. I  thought it very funny... a "Dummies" book on magic. It's still a good gag  but, it's not so funny anymore, because the title really does exist.
    I got my copy from my daughter Victoria for Christmas and it's one of the best gifts I received. Author David Pogue has a wonderfully clear way of describing tricks and techniques and throws in enough humor to make reading even the easiest tricks in the book fun.

    The book is written for beginners but includes enough serious material that those of us have been in magic for a while will still find something new to try. At the very least, we can sharpen presentations for tricks we've been doing for ages by incorporating some of the tips that are given for each trick explained.
    The book owes it's success not only to author Pogue, who has been performing magic for some 25 years but also to Mark Levy the main magic consultant Pogue worked with. The book also triumphs because of an amazing collection of contributors who have provided the magic material. This "Advisory Pantheon" is a virtual who's who of magic, filled with names like Michael Ammar, Eugene Burger, Lance Burton, Jeff McBride and on and on. These magic  greats provided tricks, clever routines, and presentation ideas that are a hoot. Something else they did... they  made sure that proper credits for each trick  were provided. In fact, an entire appendix called Trickography
 is included, which explains the derivation of each trick. I also like "The 5th Wave" cartoons, which start  off each section in the book.
    There are some great things in  this nicely organized book that takes you from the basics of getting up in   front of people and some simple pranks to tricks you can do with money, food, cards and other stuff. There's
historical information in the book that
makes the book more fun to read. I especially liked Pogue's lists of 'ten classic moments in magic history' and 'ten dead magicians worth knowing'.
    Most of the tricks in the book are pretty easy to master and their success depends greatly on your acting abilities. (My kind of tricks.) Each is nicely illustrated with great photographs that make them very easy to learn.
    Take for example, my favorite 'Beans through the Orifices', which was provided by Tom Mullica. The trick is simple, relies heavily on acting, well explained in text and illustrated with six photographs.
    Magic for Dummies is a great book to add to your library. Next time, you're in Borders or Barnes and Noble, grab a copy. You won't be disappointed.

-Mike Maione

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