The Monopolists

The Monopolists

Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game

eBook - 2015
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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.
Publisher: 2015
ISBN: 9781620405710
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Jan 07, 2016

This is a very well researched book in to (one of) the world's most popular board games. If you have ever played Monopoly and were curious about the background around the game, then this book is for you.

Dec 13, 2015

The true smoking gun in this book isn't that there is definitive proof the game was invented by Elizabeth Magie and not Charles Darrow. It's that Darrow copied another game that had plagarized the original - and that he copied a blatant mistake: Marvin Gardens is actually spelt Marven. Also gives a history of a group of people who created the game Anti-Monopoly as a response, and the intense legal battle to keep it on the market. Very well researched book by Mary Pilon.

The story is full and complete. The presentation of information seems to need cohesion at times leading to difficulty following the story. With that in mind, I read the entire book in one day: 9 a.m. to 4:20, with 30 minutes for lunch.

AbigailCurious Aug 19, 2015

I found it impossible to put down.

ksoles Feb 27, 2015

Despite his claims, Charles Darrow, the man from whom Parker Brothers (now part of Hasbro) acquired Monopoly, trademarking it in 1935, did not actually invent the game. Several people contributed to the inspiration behind it but none had a true "monopoly" on the idea. Rather than rewriting history, as Parker Brothers tried to do before a decade-long court battle with an obstinate economics professor and game inventor in the 1970s, Hasbro now declares 1935 "year zero."

These facts remain wonderfully ironic to former NYT sports reporter Mary Pilon. In her intriguing history, Pilon points out that, not only has Hasbro ended up with a monopoly on the word "Monopoly," but this game, which declares the winner the most successful monopoliser of property, actually sprung from the opposite impulse. Indeed, its precursors built it as a moral story of trustbusting, breaking up abusive giants. The game spread by word of mouth in the early 20th century, with players in social clubs making their own boards out of oilcloth and improvised pieces. Only in the Great Depression, with the marketing clout of Parker Brothers behind it, did it finally explode into a global craze.

One can certainly read the story of Monopoly as a story of inventions: the elements of an idea or a technology circulate broadly in society until one or more inventors find a way to exploit it. Pilon's prodigious research delves into great detail about the intellectual and business roots of Monopoly and, though this contentious history has been told before, Pilon does it adeptly, holding the reader's interest throughout.

This year, Hasbro will release an 80th anniversary edition of “the classic game of Monopoly” with all the original streets and districts from New Jersey’s Atlantic City. “With a retro game board and cards, the game takes you back to where it all began,” it promises. But maybe not exactly.

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