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Magic in Theory: An Introduction to the Theoretical and Psychological Elements of Conjuring Paperback – 27 Apr 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hertfordshire Press (27 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1902806506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902806501
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 543,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

""Magic in Theory" is charmingly clear, admirably erudite and highly readable. The chapters are gently authoritative without being numbingly complex, and sober while avoiding 'academic' sterility. Highly recommended." --"Fortean Times"

About the Author

Peter Lamont is a research fellow at the Koestler Parapsychology unit at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of "The Rise of the Indian Rope Trick." Richard Wiseman heads the psychology research unit at the University of Hertfordshire. He is the author of "The Luck Factor."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. Wilkinson on 29 April 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book in a bibliography of a recent thriller that had some elements of magic within it and ordered this to chase up the theme and learn more about it. Perhaps I should have thought more about it but from the title you could be forgiven for thinking it would be interesting. The fact is its not. The talk about misdirection is really just common sense things and makes you feel that the standard of writing is really quite amateurish. If you're interested in pursuing magic you won't find more than a couple of well described tricks which would be unimpressive even if it all went to plan. It says most books on magical theory are for magicians... ok... why would someone not interested on the insider's perspective want such a book? Well they wouldn't.

Steer clear of this book. If you want to learn magic there are many many better books. If you want to learn the psychology, ideas about misdirection, then it might be best to pick that up from the other books as you go along. Don't waste your money on this.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Theis Egeberg on 30 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a very academic attempt at writing a framework for describing magic. I doubt it will ever be used as it isn't intuitive or very rich in terminology. The book might do well in some circles but among magicians I think it will fail. The thing that gives it two stars is its very concise and elegant description of misdirection, that chapter I will read over and over again... thinking about it I might as well tear those pages out and throw away the rest of the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Magic in Theory 2 Jun. 2008
By Lawrence R. Oleary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book for beginners and intermediate performers who would like to understand and learn the different styles, psychological and mind set of the magic and mentalism profession. The book must be read from cover to cover as chapters build on each others knowledge. Great knowledge to be had.
Lawrence O'Leary
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
competent but not inspiring, a book on magic (conjuring) theory 8 Nov. 2011
By Kenneth K. Raymond - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, Magic in Theory by Lamont and Wiseman, is a competent book but is not inspiring. There are good discussions on most topics related to the subject matter but the style is dry and clinical. Strong Magic by Ortiz is better. The books by Tamariz are much better and the very recent book by Schneider, titled "Theory and Practice of Magic Deception" is head over shoulders superior. You might want to consult my review of the latter book.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Exceptional book 8 Mar. 2007
By Giacomo De Carlo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This exceptional book studies the theoretical and above all psychological elements of conjuring, in an analytical way, expecially considering the Misdirection and the Reconstruction. It is very very interesting and you can learn much from it. I am a magician so I know what I say.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant, quick read 31 Dec. 2012
By S. Alexander Hardison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was tempted to only give this book 4 stars, but I did enjoy it. It was a breeze reading through it and I suggest that anyone interested in the theoretical aspects of conjuring purchase this (and read it).
As Lamont and Wiseman state, this book will not necessarily teach you how to detect the "modus operandi" in tricks always and there is no substitute for real life practice in the methods of deception (using mentalist techniques, magic/conjuring, pseudo-psychic approaches, etc) to really "grasping" these concepts.

I do think that if a student of conjuring learns to apply these principles in his/her practice, they will find that, altogether, they develop into far better magicians. A few simple tricks are mentioned throughout the book (nothing really impressive, so if you're looking for a list of tricks, look elsewhere) and the elements involved in theoretical conjuring (how we use misdirection to influence the perceptions of the "victim" and the reconstruction process) are discussed in moderate depth.

It did get a tad repetitive at some points (hence my referenced temptation), but it was very efficient at giving guidelines for people interested in furthering themselves as magicians. I took something from it myself.

Highly recommended.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good basic intro 11 May 2009
By John W. Cassell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good basic introduction for the new magician. I wish I had found something like this 40 years ago! While it may seem a bit basic for the experienced performer, the re-aquaintance with the basics and the concise format make it a good, thought-provoking read. And a good addition to the basic library, magician or not!
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