I’ve been wanting a copy of this book since I was a teenager, but I could never get my hands on a copy. There was only one printing back in 1977 and they’re scarce as hen’s teeth.
Last time I looked online there wasn’t a single copy for less than $200.00. But somehow my beautiful wife found me a copy for just $40.00 and it arrived last week.
An hilarious mix of fact and fiction, this book contains history real and imagined, occult references comical and serious, jokes crude and erudite, and photos instructive and ridiculous (many of them nude). It is a fun read for any martial artist or occultist, although (since some parts have vibe of 70’s Playboy article) it may be better suited to the guys in the audience.
Here’s the first paragraph:
“To determine the inventor of the playing card is as difficult as determining who ate the first lobster. And if it was a very hungry man who wrestled that bizarre crustacean to his mouth, so it must have been a very bored man who fashioned the precursor to the card by carving symbols on a stick or stone.”
If you can get a copy, by all means check it out; if you can’t, check out Ricky Jay on the internet. He’s a great magician and funny as hell. You might have seen him on the Mythbusters segment called “Killer Deck.” He once held the Guiness Word Record for the longest and fastest card toss at 190 feet and 90 miles/hour.
Here’s a video. Enjoy.