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Customer Review

on 24 October 2011
Overall, Brady's book is a well-written, pacy read, which affords the reader a good general overview of Fischer's career. As other reviewers have noted, however, certain sections of the book may feel a tad superficial, and Brady often says that this or that fact about Fischer is simply "not known" - which can be a little irritating. It's also debatable as to whether Brady solves the central mystery about Fischer: how could a man who displayed such powers of reasoning on the chessboard swallow whole the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion', and go on to espouse a very distasteful kind of Julius Streicher-like anti-Semitism? How could it be that the charming and bashful young man who appeared on the Dick Cavett Show in 1971 (which, incidentally, Brady doesn't mention), could turn into a truculent anti-Semite? I didn't feel that this mystery was really dealt with in the book. Perhaps the answer is simply that human beings - even ones with intellects like Fischer's - are also capable of believing some spectacular nonsense, if it suits them. Was it to do with his mother, the absence of his father, or as a smokescreen for the real reason behind his refusal to defend his title against Karpov in 1975?

Whatever the answer is, Fischer's story is ultimately a desperately sad one.
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