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Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic Review

Official Review

December 14th, 2002 6:50pm
Reviewed by Brad Henderson
Desert island, huh? Stranded, huh? Me too.

Fortunately I brought my rusty trusty pocket knife, a carton of Bicycles, and Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic. Send on the hurricanes, I'll weather the storm.

I'm going to make a lot of people upset by telling you that this is probably one of the greatest books on card magic ever published. Don't hear about it a lot, do you? Well, the reason is because those people who know, don't tell. Where does that put me? I'll leave that up to the jury.

My favorite section: ever have a card peeked? You'll never do it the same way again. This book will show you a handful of techniques which go that extra 1% to take a trick (or a move) and move it one step closer to an unfathomable miracle.

Of course, if you are one of those people who think rolling a die, adding the numbers, multiplying by the rings inside the circumference of a freshly sawed assistant, and then using the measurement of length of your thumb to count down to the selected card and eschew the classic force by repeating ad infinitum "the effect is everything," then this book is not for you. If you haven't yet realized that method affects effect, then this book is not for you. If you don't believe 1% is enough of an improvement to think about and strive for, then this book is not for you.

If however you can see that genius is in the finest of details, then you are in for a treat.

The tricks are stellar. Material by Jennings, Diaconis (a rare treat), Teytelbaum (historians of the Skinner/Roger's Monte take note), and Kaps just to name a few. Thoughts on the pass that CANNOT be overlooked if you ever hope to perfect this daunting yet versatile sleight, methods for table passes that will set any poker demonstration apart, and a multiple card control technique that is just waiting to become the latest "NEW" thing.

Sound like I'm gushing? I am. Will everyone who reads this book feel the same? Absolutely not.

For good or for bad, this book has a flaw. Quite simply, some of the ideas hidden the pages are cursed by a spell that makes them seem trivial and mundane unless someone is willing to break its power by actually studying, practicing, and trying the material written within. I was fortunate. I had my ass kicked again and again by someone who was kind enough to fry me with this material, and then share its location. Every time I reread a handling that I've gone over a dozen times before, I notice something new - 1%.

It is a rare magic book that can grow with the reader. Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic is one of those texts.

Product info for Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic

Author: Ganson, Lewis
Publisher: L & L Publishing
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $39.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

An event of great importance. One of the great card books of our time is now re-published. Tremendous card magic by the Professor himself, plus contributions by a star-studded array of internationally famous magicians who pay tribute to the master by giving of their best. Contributors include Fred Kaps, Larry Jennings, Charlie Miller, Roy Walton, Jay Ose, Bruce Cervon, Alex Elmsley, Peter Warlock, Francis Carlyle, Roger Klause, Ross Bertram, Faucett Ross, Francis Haxton, Eddie Taytelbaum and more. The original book has been completely revised and typeset; the original photos re-screened. This Dai Vernon classic is now in its finest form. 200 pages. Hardbound. A beauty.

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