The Immortal Game by David Shenk
A History of Chess, or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science and the Human Brain

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Synopsis

Chess is the most enduring and universal game in history. Here, bestselling author David Shenk chronicles its intriguing saga, from ancient Persia to medieval Europe to the dens of Benjamin Franklin and Norman Schwarzkopf. Along the way, he examines a single legendary game that took place in London in 1851 between two masters of the time, and relays his own attempts to become as skilled as his Polish ancestor Samuel Rosenthal, a nineteenth-century champion. With its blend of cultural history and Shenk’s personal interest, The Immortal Game is a compelling guide for novices and aficionados alike.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About David Shenk

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David Shenk is the author of Data Smog, and The Forgetting. A former fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University, he has written for Harper's, Wired, Salon, The New Republic, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, and the New York Times Magazine, and is an occasional commentator for NPR's All Things Considered. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter.
 
Published September 4, 2007 by Anchor. 352 pages
Genres: History, Humor & Entertainment, War, Computers & Technology. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The history of chess is the history of the dissemination of culture, notes Shenk, and he nimbly employs the various disciplines in history, anthropology and psychology to convey the importance and usefulness of the game over its 1,400-year span.

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The New York Times

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A look at the history of chess and its “entanglement with the human mind.”

Sep 10 2006 | Read Full Review of The Immortal Game: A History ...

Publishers Weekly

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Shenk (The Forgetting ) succinctly surveys the game's history from its origins in fifth- or sixth-century Persia up to the present, touching along the way on such subjects as his own amateurish pursuit of the game, erratic geniuses like Paul Morphy and Bobby Fischer, chess in schools today, compu...

Jun 19 2006 | Read Full Review of The Immortal Game: A History ...

BC Books

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Interspersed with the history of the game, Shenk offers a play-by-play of "The Immortal Game," a practice game played by Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kiesseritzky in 1851.

Nov 14 2006 | Read Full Review of The Immortal Game: A History ...

BC Books

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But he traces the history of chess through how it is used - chess is used as a metaphor throughout history, and what it serves as a metaphor for tells us a lot about each time period.

Nov 14 2006 | Read Full Review of The Immortal Game: A History ...

Entertainment Weekly

That is, until Napoléon's lonely exile to St. Helena, where, David Shenk surmises, ''he probably found the competition somewhat stiffer.'' Such wry observations abound in Shenk's thrilling tour of the 1,500-year-old game, including a lively exegesis of a legendary 1851 match that provides the bo...

Sep 08 2006 | Read Full Review of The Immortal Game: A History ...

Bookmarks Magazine

Phil Hanrahan NY Times Book Review 3.5 of 5 Stars "Although the book’s subtitle promises a history of chess, its more interesting pages offer something closer to meditation, personal revelation and the exploration of what he calls ‘the deep history of chess’s entanglement with the human mind...

Aug 21 2007 | Read Full Review of The Immortal Game: A History ...

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