Mastering the Art of Magic

by Eugene Burger
Published by Richard Kaufman
Reviewed by David Hawkins

Back in the 1980's a series of small booklets on Close Up magic were published by Phil Willmarth, the writer being a relatively unknown performer called Eugene Burger. The booklets were revolutionary - thought provoking, inspiring and also contained a wealth of highly commercial performance material. Of course after a few years Eugene quickly became one of the most well known and best loved magicians in the world and set new standards in magical publishing with volumes such as "The Experience of Magic" and "The Performance of Close Up Magic". Now that standard has been raised again with "Mastering the Art of Magic", a compilation of his early work. It would have been easy to just reproduce the original material unchanged, but this latest book goes much, much further. Certainly the original works are reprinted but now with greatly improved illustrations and clarifications in the text where the original explanations were slightly ambiguous. However, Eugene has also explained how these original ideas have evolved over the years, and add many of his latest thoughts. Interestingly he reveals why several of the effects were dropped from his working repertoire - for example his memorable effect "Dracula and the Sorority Girls" was given its final public performance on the Paul Daniels Halloween TV show several years ago. 

I feel this is one of the most important magic books to be published in the last few years. For any Eugene Burger fans, it is fascinating to revisit the original material, then hear Eugene's latest views and thoughts. For anyone who hasn't read any of the earlier works, this is an absolute goldmine.

Quite simply - you MUST buy this book.

David Hawkins November 2000