Thayer Quality Magic by Floyd Thayer

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii January, 1998)

In the December 1996 issue of Genii , Eugene Burger wrote an installment of his Beginner's Corner column in which he discussed some of his favorite and most formative magic books. One set of items he recommended highly were the reprints of four volumes of the Thayer Magic instruction sheets. Mr. Burger discussed a number of the benefits of such works. "Reading magic catalogs taught me a great deal about what I might call 'the magic that was available to the many.' It is important to have a thorough understanding of this kind of magic—so that one's own magic, at least in part, is able to transcend it." He also pointed out that "These collected instruction sheets will give any beginner an astonishing and valuable lesson in the art of reading magic dealer ads." I would certainly put this collection pretty high on my list of books, right behind the Tarbell Course , that will help to build a fundamental grasp of magic methodology, with an emphasis in this case, albeit not exclusively so, on the mechanical side of things. There are nine-teen sections, including magic with cards, coins, cigarettes, paper money, dice, livestock, silks, spirit effects, and even a whole section on every magician's passion: tables! There are over 170 entries here, an incredible mass of knowledge. At times you might find it a bit of a challenge to figure out exactly what is supposed to be going on in the absence of many illustrations or thorough descriptions, but in general you'll get the idea, and the range of standard items covered here is simply huge. Keep in mind that this is a reprint of the last of four volumes, and the publisher currently has all the previous volumes in print and available.

6" X 9" hardbound with dustjacket; 324 fays; illustrated; 1997; Publisher: Lee Jacobs Productions