Birth of the Chess Queen by Marilyn Yalom

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Synopsis

Everyone knows that the queen is the most dominant piece in chess, but few people know that the game existed for five hundred years without her. It wasn't until chess became a popular pastime for European royals during the Middle Ages that the queen was born and was gradually empowered to become the king's fierce warrior and protector.

Birth of the Chess Queen examines the five centuries between the chess queen's timid emergence in the early days of the Holy Roman Empire to her elevation during the reign of Isabel of Castile. Marilyn Yalom, inspired by a handful of surviving medieval chess queens, traces their origin and spread from Spain, Italy, and Germany to France, England, Scandinavia, and Russia. In a lively and engaging historical investigation, Yalom draws parallels between the rise of the chess queen and the ascent of female sovereigns in Europe, presenting a layered, fascinating history of medieval courts and internal struggles for power.

 

About Marilyn Yalom

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Marilyn Yalom is a former professor of French and presently a senior scholar at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. She is the author of widely-acclaimed books, such as A History of the Breast, A History of the Wife, and Birth of the Chess Queen, as well as The American Resting Place: Four Hundred Years of History through our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds, which includes a portfolio of photos by her son Reid S. Yalom. She lives in Palo Alto, California with her husband, psychiatrist author Irvin D. Yalom.
 
Published May 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 320 pages
Genres: History, Humor & Entertainment, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Birth of the Chess Queen

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Some tenuous speculations about the co-emergence of powerful political women and the most puissant piece on the chessboard.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Birth of the Chess Queen

The New York Times

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Marilyn Yalom contends that the development of the mightiest chess piece was linked to the rising status of women in medieval Europe.

May 23 2004 | Read Full Review of Birth of the Chess Queen

The Guardian

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Birth of the Chess Queen: A History by Marilyn Yalom 272pp, Pandora Press, £19.99.

Aug 27 2004 | Read Full Review of Birth of the Chess Queen

Publishers Weekly

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A senior scholar at Stanford's Institute for Women and Gender who has written extensively on women's history, Yalom (A History of the Wife ; etc.) sees th

Feb 23 2004 | Read Full Review of Birth of the Chess Queen

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