I liked this book because it was an excellent story written in the spirit of great fiction. It was well-organized and wove together many different threads from a variety of areas including psychology, history and culture.
The Immortal Game gives a history of chess and also presents interesting highlights of world history along the way with many insights into man's psychological constitution, proclivities, etc. It is also a cultural commentary and uses the game of chess as a metaphor. I think it's a quite clever concept for a book.
The parallels between chess as war and various military campaigns and personalities is used a lot to bring in a world history perspective. I like the way he used this theme throughout the book and he relates it back to psychological and sociological evolution in interesting ways. He also highlights the influence of the game on various world leaders throughout history.
This book is primarily geared toward novice players. This makes the book an easy read for everyone, but perhaps serious chess players would appreciate more in-depth chess specifics. There are other reviews below that place more emphasis on this dimension of the book's contents.
This thought provoking book also makes reference to some good research material on neuroplasticity, strengthening cognition, etc. The author relates some of this research to chess and speculates that chess improves memory and cognition. This is good speculation in my opinion and quite likely true. He also talks about computers and chess and references a few of the famous matches between humans and computers.
In short, this is good writing. I recommend this book highly. It is great food for thought and engages the mind in many imaginative, entertaining and informative ways. Even if you are not a chess player, you are likely to enjoy it and perhaps develop an interest in learning the game yourself.
Chess popularity didn't endure all these years for no good reason. It captivates the imagination in ways no other game ever has. There are many reasons for this which this book explores thoroughly.
I notice some people haven't been marking this review as helpful, but they haven't been leaving me a comment. If you dont' find this review helpful, maybe you can give me some suggestions on what you feel is missing, so I can update it to be more useful. My intention in writing this review was to be very concise, augment other reviews and convey the spirit of the book to the average reader.