Gilbert Cruz
October 20, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Monopoly

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Phillip E. Orbanes
publisher
Da Capo Press
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it a B-

Perhaps it’s inevitable that a history of Monopoly — a game based on the mechanics of advanced capitalism — would find itself weighed down heavily by an exploration of popular 20th-century economic history. In Monopoly, Philip E. Orbanes’s survey of what he claims to be ”the world’s most famous game” (um, what about chess?), Orbanes also takes a peek at tournaments (he has judged many) and reveals that the game’s British distributor was enlisted during WWII to smuggle escape tools into German POW camps via Monopoly sets. Despite these fascinating tidbits, Orbanes’ focus on paralleling the game’s history with America’s monetary ups and downs will sometimes leave you unwilling to pass Go.

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