The Basics

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Michael Bailey
  • Abingdon, UK: 
    , September
     192 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Ethan Doyle White forthcoming.


Magic: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to magic in world history and contemporary societies. Presenting magic as a global phenomenon which has manifested in all human cultures, this book takes a thematic approach which explores the historical, social, and cultural aspects of magic.

Key features include:

  • attempts to define magic either in universal or more particular terms, and to contrast it with other broad and potentially fluid categories such as religion and science;
  • an examination of different forms of magical practice and the purposes for which magic has been used;
  • debates about magic’s effectiveness, its reality, and its morality;
  • an exploration of magic’s association with certain social factors, such as gender, ethnicity and education, among others.

Offering a global perspective of magic from antiquity through to the modern era and including a glossary of key terms, suggestions for further reading and case studies throughout, Magic: The Basics is essential reading for anyone seeking to learn more about the academic study of magic.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Michael D. Bailey is Professor of History at Iowa State University. He is founding co-editor of the journal Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft and has published extensively on the history of witchcraft and superstition in medieval Europe.


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