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Magic: 1400s–1950s

4.70  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Magic has enchanted humankind for millennia, evoking terror, laughter, shock, and amazement. Once persecuted as heretics and sorcerers, magicians have always been conduits to a parallel universe of limitless possibility – whether invoking spirits, reading minds, or inverting the laws of nature by sleight of hand. Long before science fiction, virtual realities, video games ...more
Hardcover, 650 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Taschen (first published 2009)
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Average rating 4.70  · 
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 ·  196 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hartman, magic, own
If you are into Magic and its history,then this is a fabulous book.The book is worth it for the beautiful posters feature in the book.No computer could ever make posters as beautiful as these were. This purchase was purely selfish.My Grandparents were magicians and my Grandfather worked for Howard Thurston and also partnered with Tampa. the late 1800's thru the 1960's was a great time for magic and magicians! This is really a great treasury of magic and its stars.I bought this on clearance for $ ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Magic history nerds
Shelves: art, non-fiction
This is a standard size version of book originally published in a larger, coffee table format. It has incredibly fine print which is tiring to read, its not a reading sort of book. You won't learn any magic tricks from this book. The print is so fine I knocked off a star.

But it is packed wall to wall with illustrations and photos showing handbills, posters, paraphernalia and live shows, a visual history of the magic show. It's printed on a very heavy clay stock with high resolution, I cannot see
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
If I could give this book ten stars I would, so wonderful this collection of magic related material is. This isn't a small book, it's one of the over sized Taschen books and when I say over sized, I'm not kidding around--it's massive! Which only adds to the books appeal, as the full-color lithographs collected in this are mind-blowing and gorgeous as the complete history of magic is given loving treatment. The posters and photographs are the stars of Magic: 1400s-1950s, with short histories on d ...more
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well made book full of information and illustrations about magic. Wonderful read for everyone.
Nostalgia Reader
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-gallery
3 stars for the essays, 4.5 stars for the presentation of the posters and photographs.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017
I'm a visual creature by nature which isn't something particularly singular I admit. Were I to rate the book solely for it's ability to make me eyegasm at every page it would get plenty of awards, but geez did it make me angry, frustrated and delighted at turns the further I skimmed.

Let's take those chapter pages for example: the book designer did an incredible job choosing beautiful vintage patterns and design elements for those.

The images in this book depict adverts and illustrations from th
Fraser Sherman
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great history of the stage magician's craft, covering the major names (with particular focus on the golden age of the early 20th century — Houdini gets his own chapter), the famous tricks (sawing a lady in half, mind-reading, levitation and the once definitive "cup and balls" stunt) and the changes in magic as they adapt to new venues such as music halls, vaudeville, movies and TV. Beautifully illustrated with photos and posters. ...more
Jaime Estrada
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un libro al que se podrían dedicar horas y horas para apreciar todos sus detalles. Repleto de fotografías, carteles publicitarios, anuncios... ofrece un viaje por la historia de la magia y sus distintas manifestaciones. En definitiva, un libro para leer con calma y deteniéndose en todos los dibujos que ofrece, en una edición cuidadísima como todas las de Taschen.
David L.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating history of magic in the theater augmented by illustrations and photographs. The book itself looks like a magic book. Definitely recommend!
P.S. Winn
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A look into the different aspects of magic. This is an intriguing journey into magic and all it entails, a few of those ideas may surprise readers.
Catherine Elcik
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, magic, research
Visually, this book is a thing of beauty. The amount of care that went into collecting and displaying the playbills is astounding, and the book even includes an attached ribbon bookmark to mark your journey through this book that has to be moved through slowly.

Although those looking for details about women in magic will be pleased to see a dozen or so women mentioned, they'll be disappointed to find that at times female magicians are described as performing tricks made famous by x, y, and z mal
Julian Walker
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful history of magic and illusion through the centuries. A gloriously illustrated and beautifully written coffee table book – this is no light reading but its stature is matched by its engagement – I defy anyone with an interest in entertainment not to enjoy it.

From some of the most famous characters in the illusion business, to many of the more obscure performers, this book has the lot and is an absolute encyclopaedia of information – although written in an engaging and interest
Michael Kelly
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A glorious, huge, hefty, large format volume detailing the history of stage magic and its performers from the 1400s to the 1950s.

It has some great essays in there, but the real meat and value of this enormous book is the sheer quantity of fantastic illustrations. These range from photographs of magicians at work to the glorious, gorgeous posters they had produced to advertise their performances.

A colourful, inspiring and fascinating volume.
I requested this book from OSU because it seemed like a great Taschen book I hadn't seen. Little did I realize that it's more coffee table than coffee table book. It's huge!! Its size almost impedes its use, but that really highlights the best part: the vintage posters and playbills and their wonderful visual storytelling. ...more
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not a book to read in bed: you won't be able to hold it up long enough. Beautiful to look at and well worth the money. ...more
Ryan Jones
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
great read and awesome book.
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