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The Monopolists

The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game - Mary Pilon

This was a good read.


After I read and loved two memoirs, a friend of mine thought I should continue on the nonfiction wave I was riding and dive into The Monopolists.


Me: "You mean a book about a board game?" *side eye*


My-entirely-too-patient-with-me-friend: "It's about the true history of the game. It's really interesting."


Me: "Uh... ok."


My friend introduced me to Candace Millard so she had built up some reading cred with me. 


She is officially two for two. 


This book tells the true story of how when Ralph Anspach went to market his game Anti-Monopoly, he was hit with a C&D letter from Parker Brothers that prompted him to look into the origins of Monopoly. At the time, the belief was Charles Darrow created the game in his basement when he was down and out and then sold it to Parker Brothers. A true Rags to Riches story.


Digging reveals that wasn't true. Digging leads you to a young woman named Lizzie Magie, to the Quakers and to some shady business dealings. I don't want to spoil the twists and turns for you. I was surprised to learn how much money was at stake prompting Parker Brothers to be so possessive. The fight over Monopoly's copyright leads to a dramatic court case. It was an enjoyable read and I learned a bit about copyright law. I also enjoyed learning about Lizzie Magie - what a character she was. I will admit, I was nostalgic remembering the hours my family spent playing Monopoly. It has been such a part of our culture for so long. 


Definitely recommend.