The Monopolists

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The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game by Mary Pilon

A Book Review of The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game by Mary PilonStars: ****

Bloomsbury (2015)
Biographies/Board Games/Historical Study
336 pages

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Summary: The Monopolists reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man’s lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game’s questionable origins.

Most think it was invented by an unemployed Pennsylvanian who sold his game to Parker Brothers during the Great Depression in 1935 and lived happily–and richly–ever after. That story, however, is not exactly true. Ralph Anspach, a professor fighting to sell his Anti-Monopoly board game decades later, unearthed the real story, which traces back to Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and a forgotten feminist named Lizzie Magie who invented her nearly identical Landlord’s Game more than thirty years before Parker Brothers sold their version of Monopoly. Her game–underpinned by morals that were the exact opposite of what Monopoly represents today–was embraced by a constellation of left-wingers from the Progressive Era through the Great Depression, including members of Franklin Roosevelt’s famed Brain Trust.

A gripping social history of corporate greed that illuminates the cutthroat nature of American business over the last century, The Monopolists reads like the best detective fiction, told through Monopoly’s real-life winners and losers.

The Monopolists

I had no idea the game of Monopoly had such a crazy background story. I enjoyed learning about the history of Monopoly but the constant money talk bored me a bit, just because I find that boring. I am referring to the (obviously needed but stale) talk about trademarks, copyrights, monopolies, the economy, US Government, political views and economic theories. However the story really can’t be told properly without it.

If you just want a quick overview, this isn’t for you. However if you want the WHOLE STORY, or as much as is known, this book is perfect.

Although I found the economy talk boring, it was good for me to learn about how some of it worked in the past. I also learned how board games in general were more of a share with your friends thing before the time that Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley were mass producing games.

As a board game enthusiast I found this very interesting.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.