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Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game--And How It Got That Way Paperback – 9 Oct 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (9 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306815745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306815744
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 950,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Monopoly was cleverly marketed, and quickly became a household name around the world. But does it merit a biography? Judging by this enjoyable insider's account, it does." The Observer --The Observer

About the Author

Philip E. Orbanes has been the chief judge at Monopoly championships since 1979, and is the author of Game Makers and the best-selling book Monopoly Companion. He lives in Massachusetts.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Al the book monster on 7 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Picked this up at a bargain book shop in Derbyshire. An interesting read. Details the "development" (perhaps evolution is more appropriate) of the board game against the backdrop of the USA during the depression. I felt that perhaps the book lost its way once it came to more modern times but the account of earlier times is good and holds one's interest.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was a very illuminating read and provided the twists and turns in the evolutionary process of this great board game. It also highlights the commercial proceedings and decisions that have been made this board game what it is today.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The Game that Changed the World! 10 Nov. 2006
By Cocoa Jean - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Monopoly's impact on world history is truly amazing. As one of six children, Monopoly was a beloved favorite in my family. But, I had no idea how much more than "just a game" it is! The author takes you on a 100 year journey from the mind of Lizzie Phillips (who conceived Monopoly's forerunner as a political tool) to radical professor Scott Nearing (who popularized the game), through movers in the Roosevelt Adminstration, and on to Parker Brothers who published Monopoly and spread it worldwide. The Monopoly game helped prisoners escape in WWII, served in the Cold War, and on and on. Along the way, hundreds of millions of players played it, competed in tournaments, and absorbed it into our culture in more ways than I could have imagined. I also learned the best properties to buy, and the appendices list every version published, which is great in case you want to start collecting. I loved this book and highly recommend it as a fascinating, well-researched, delightful read!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A real disappointment 2 Feb. 2007
By Eric G - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Love Monopoly and love pop culture history, so I was anxious to read this treatment of the history of America's favorite game. Unfortunately, the book does not live up to its promise.

Here's the core problem - the actual Monopoly content probably only fills about 75 pages. The rest of the text is the author's simplistic and superficial efforts at summarizing the American history that surrounded each decade of the game's life. So, instead of reading about Monopoly, I'm reading about FDR's New Deal and the author's thoughts on World War II.

He's no historian and his historical treatments are elementary-school level. By the 1960s, I was skimming over all his useless verbiage and trying (desperately) to find more on the game itself. The back cover teases with interesting Monopoly facts, but trivia of that ilk is given short shrift in the book.

Finally, he's just not a particularly good writer, using painful analogies and awkward prose. I'm not saying don't read it, especially if you have a high level of interest in the topic, but don't expect too much.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Interesting and informative... within reason 29 May 2007
By Christopher Barat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you're a casual player of Monopoly®, you may never have managed to see a game through to the finish. However, it won't take you much time at all to complete this breezy, informative survey of the tortuous development of the "real estate trading game" from a didactic method of teaching a 19th-century economic nostrum (Henry George's "single tax") to a pastime that is enjoyed around the world. Orbanes is in a position to know all about Monopoly®, having written the previous "The Monopoly® Companion", serving as a judge at Monopoly® tournaments, and being in touch with the many collectors and fans who have come to specialize in the game and its variants and spin-offs. He does commit a fairly egregious number of faux pas of a purely historical nature, however. The ending is weak, with entirely too much time being spent on a description of Monopoly® tournaments and various individuals who have an online Monopoly® presence. It might have been better had the book been an oversized hardback, with larger space being provided for the many illustrations of Monopoly® variants, precursors, and rip-offs. Even so, this book is worth reading by anyone who enjoys the game and the general history of American pop culture.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Stretching the game out 18 Jan. 2007
By Jon Hunt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After more than seventy years in the public eye there is no doubt that Monopoly has been a successful and well-loved game. It didn't just appear overnight, of course, (with many forerunners) but the essential game patented by Parker Brothers at the very end of 1935 still holds sway. It should, because it's terrific.

Philip Orbanes's book with the title of the same name is a curious look at the history of Monopoly. Striving to fill out enough information, both historical and entertainment-wise, it does...but just barely. The good chapters begin when the serious effort to market Monopoly gets going....the characters that were involved earlier on....Darrow, Magie, et al. figured into things but it wasn't until 1936 that the game took off. From that point on "Monopoly" (the book) becomes intriguing...its role in subversive activity in World War II, the Nixon-Khrushchev kitchen debate in 1959 and the many international editions that have been published with local flavor all add to the sweetness of the game and the book. Yet the author spends an inordinate amount of time getting the book off the ground, and finishing it up, as well. The names and the games get caught in a swirl of disconnect and publishing their rules at the end of the book (like "Landlord's Game" and "Finance" just seem like filler). The Monopoly rules, however, are what we really need to know.

There are some nice photos that accompany "Monopoly" and I give the author credit for this addition. I wish he had been more succinct in his telling of the story (the middle of the book) than all the sides that surround it. "Monopoly" is a nice read if you know what to look for.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Miscellany of Little-Known Facts 8 Dec. 2006
By John Matlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
More than you ever imagined there was to know about a board game.

If there is anyone more qualified to write this book than Orbanes, then you would have to conclude that he or she had spent far, far too much time in the search for trivia. Orbanes served as Senior VP of Research and Development at Parker Brothers, the owner of the game. During his many years associated with the game he has collected an amazing number of facts, friends, games and memorabilia.

Not only that, but he served as the judge for the world championships for many years, so he knows the big name players, has discussed their strategy with them, has been with when they won or lost. This has got to be the ultimate book about the game.

The only thing I can think of that he hasn't done is develop a Monopoly version of Trivial Persuit.
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