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Magic: A Beginner's Guide (review)
Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft
  • Michael D. Bailey, Iowa State University
Document Type
Book Review
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Published Version
Publication Date
Surveys of the history of magic (and of witchcraft, although this item is decidedly not one of the latter) are thick on the ground, so with each new book, one can fairly ask what new or different elements it offers. The greatest strength of this book is its conceptual breadth. Beyond the standard medieval and early modern history of European magic and its repression, it offers (relatively) lengthy treatment of magic in post-Enlightenment Europe, including coverage of two topics almost never found in more "standard" surveys—stage magic and the modern academic treatment of magic. Covering so much ground in so short a space is a tall order, and the book's deficits inevitably stem from its constant compression of complicated topics and questionable choices regarding inclusion and exclusion.

This is a book review Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 7 (2012): 212, doi:10.1353/mrw.2012.0018. Posted with permission.

All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of scholarly citation, none of this work may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. For information address the University of Pennsylvania Press, 3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112
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University of Pennsylvania Press
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Citation Information
Michael D. Bailey. "Magic: A Beginner's Guide (review)" Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft Vol. 7 Iss. 2 (2012) p. 212 - 215
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