Snake Oil: Jim Rose's Book of Secrets, from the Master Himself
By
J. Gordon
3/13/2005 2:22:02 PM

Obliterate your faith! Banish your childhood gullibility in one fell swoop! And—become a huckster and a con-man to boot! You, yes you, can learn all the secrets of the gyp, from card tricks to magicians sawing ladies in half to so-claimed psychic and mentalist powers. In Snake Oil, Life’s Calculations, Misdirections, and Manipulations [Bartleby Press], author Jim Rose of the infamous Jim Rose Circus Sideshow reveals his (and everyone’s) secrets.

The Disclaimer warns that the contents of the book are dangerous, and misuse of the material may “cheapen an art form or at the very least make you look stupid.” He also warns of jail time and death. But since when has anyone modeling themselves after Jim Rose been worried about jail time or death?

Beyond his introduction, which spells out his fear of forgetting all these secrets in old age, hence the compulsion to document them--don’t look for a lot of personal information about Rose, much literary style, tale-spinning or the humor and honesty of his last book, Freak Like Me [Dell, 1995]. If you’re an animal lover, just skip right over the first chapter, “Entertaining Animals.” More fun are chapters such as “Genius Mind,” “Feats of Torture,” “Carnival Games,” “Street Scams,” and “Get Out Of Jail Free Cards.” Snake Oil is strictly a how-to manual to become a low-life shyster yourself, or to be wise enough not to be fooled by them; each item broken down into a neat little paragraph or so. At 160 large-print pages, it’s a quick read, but it might take you a little longer to master the art of the scam. Trick somebody into buying you a copy today.

 

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