I forget when or where but, many years ago, I first learned about a chess-playing automaton in the 19th century. In Standage's book, I have finally learned "the rest of the story." The automaton (named "The Turk") attracted a great deal of attention and generated a great deal of controversy. Benjamin Franklin apparently played a game or two against it. In fact, "The Turk" is reputed to have defeated most of Europe's chess masters during a period which extends from 1770 until 1855. It attracted the attention of countless celebrities (e.g. Napoleon Bonaparte, Edgar Allan Poe, Catherine the Great, and Charles Babbage) and indeed, "The Turk" itself became a celebrity as did its inventor, Wolfgang von Kempelen. Was it truly a technological marvel, not only able to to move chess pieces but to formulate and then follow strategies which prevailed against most of the most skilled players? Or was it a hoax? It would be a disservice both to Standage and to his reader to say much more about this book, except that it is exceptionally well-written and combines the best features of a crackerjack detective story with the skills required of a world-class cultural anthropologist. Standage is a master storyteller; he tells the story of "The Turk" within the context of the Age of Victoria when the Industrial Revolution was well-underway and indeed thriving. Great stuff!