BOBBY FISCHER GOES TO WAR

David Edmonds, Author, John Eidinow, Author, Sam Tsoutsouvas, Read by , read by Sam Tsoutsouvas. Harper Audio $34.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-059190-8

Tsoutsouvas turns in a steady, suitably understated performance of this eminently engrossing account of the 1972 world championship chess match between the eccentric American challenger Bobby Fischer and the then-reigning Soviet title holder Boris Spassky. Edmonds and Eidinow (Wittgenstein's Poker ) explore not only the widely variant backgrounds of each of the players, but also the nuances of the Cold War societies that produced them. The political wrangling on both sides—coupled with Fischer's outrageous, often petulant demands—turn what might have been a humdrum tale of logistics and chess analysis into a vibrant carnival of human stubbornness, ego and, occasionally, brilliance. Tsoutsouvas reads in a level, largely unembellished style, but his approach suits this sober text. And while characterization is not a highlight of the reading, Tsoutsouvas, with his natural baritone, can't resist a pass at some of the Russian accents or the voice of Henry Kissinger, which he does admirably. It all makes for a fitting rendition of this intriguing take on the forbearance and political gamesmanship it took to get two grown men to sit down across a table from one another and play a game. Simultaneous release with the Ecco hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 8, 2003). (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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