cover image Monopoly: The Story Behind the World's Best-Selling Game

Monopoly: The Story Behind the World's Best-Selling Game

Rod Kennedy, Jr., Author, The Atlantic City Historical Museum, With, Jim Waltzer, Text by (Art/Photo Books) Gibbs Smith Publishers $19.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-58685-322-8

For many people, the properties on a Monopoly board seem as fake as Monopoly money. Kennedy (Atlantic City: 125 Years of Ocean Madness) and Waltzer dispel that notion by revealing the lively history behind their real-life counterparts in Atlantic City and exposing the early origins of the game. Two opening chapters cover the history of the game and of the city while the remainder of the book examines each set of properties in turn--from their statistical value to how well their role in the game corresponds with the character of the streets on which they are based. Readers will be surprised to learn that Elizabeth J. Magie, a Quaker, created the original version of the game in 1904 (called""The Landlord's Game"") and that it reflected her economic views, as its goal was to keep players out of the poor house, rather than to bankrupt them. The brief overview of Atlantic City's heyday also contains some interesting facts, but after these first few chapters, the book contains very little straight text; indeed, the remainder consists largely of historical photos, posters and other images. The captions for these visuals become the book's primary source of information, conveying such tidbits as the fact that the owner of the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to New York when his production of a musical in Atlantic City proved too costly. On the whole, this book will give Monopoly players some context for their game, but it won't leave a lasting impression. 130 color photos, 20 halftones, 20 line drawings.