Board games have been with us longer than even the written word. But what is it about this pastime that continues to captivate us well into the age of smartphones and instant gratification?
In It’s All a Game, British journalist and renowned games expert Tristan Donovan opens the box on the incredible and often surprising history and psychology of board games. He traces the evolution of the game across cultures, time periods, and continents, from the paranoid Chicago toy genius behind classics like Operation and Mouse Trap, to the role of Monopoly in helping prisoners of war escape the Nazis, and even the scientific use of board games today to teach artificial intelligence how to reason and how to win. With these compelling stories and characters, Donovan ultimately reveals why board games have captured hearts and minds all over the world for generations.
Abbott draws upon his political expertise to explain how our current understanding of the world is rooted in pivotal moments of history. These moments are captured in the words of a range of influential speakers including: Emmeline Pankhurst, Martin Luther King, Jr, Enoch Powell, Napoleon Beazley, Kevin Rudd, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, Margaret Beckett, Winston Churchill, Salvador Allende, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Tim Collins, Mohandas Gandhi, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Robin Cook and Barack Obama.
The speeches in this book are arranged thematically, linked by concepts such as 'might is right', 'with us or against us' and 'give peace a chance'. Each transcript is accompanied by an insightful commentary that analyses how the words relate to our modern society. Fresh and relevant, this is a book that will make you stop in your tracks and think about what is really happening in the world today.
Thirty years later, David Edmonds and John Eidinow, authors of the national bestseller Wittgenstein’s Poker, have set out to reexamine the story we recollect as the quintessential cold war clash between a lone American star and the Soviet chess machine—a machine that had delivered the world title to the Kremlin for decades. Drawing upon unpublished Soviet and U.S. records, the authors reconstruct the full and incredible saga, one far more poignant and layered than hitherto believed.
Against the backdrop of superpower politics, the authors recount the careers and personalities of Boris Spassky, the product of Stalin’s imperium, and Bobby Fischer, a child of post-World War II America, an era of economic boom at home and communist containment abroad. The two men had nothing in common but their gift for chess, and the disparity of their outlook and values conditioned the struggle over the board.
Then there was the match itself, which produced both creative masterpieces and some of the most improbable gaffes in chess history. And finally, there was the dramatic and protracted off-the-board battle—in corridors and foyers, in back rooms and hotel suites, in Moscow offices and in the White House.
The authors chronicle how Fischer, a manip-ulative, dysfunctional genius, risked all to seize control of the contest as the organizers maneuvered frantically to save it—under the eyes of the world’s press. They can now tell the inside story of Moscow’s response, and the bitter tensions within the Soviet camp as the anxious and frustrated apparatchiks strove to prop up Boris Spassky, the most un-Soviet of their champions—fun-loving, sensitive, and a free spirit. Edmonds and Eidinow follow this careering, behind-the-scenes confrontation to its climax: a clash that displayed the cultural differences between the dynamic, media-savvy representatives of the West and the baffled, impotent Soviets. Try as they might, even the KGB couldn’t help.
A mesmerizing narrative of brilliance and triumph, hubris and despair, Bobby Fischer Goes to War is a biting deconstruction of the Bobby Fischer myth, a nuanced study on the art of brinkmanship, and a revelatory cold war tragicomedy.