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Download The Immortal Game Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Immortal Game (Unabridged), by David Shenk
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (561 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Shenk Narrator: John H. Mayer Publisher: Books on Tape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Why has one game, alone among the thousands of games invented and played throughout human history, not only survived but thrived within every culture it has touched? What is it about its 32 figurative pieces, moving about its 64 black and white squares according to very simple rules, that has captivated people for nearly 1,500 years? Why has it driven some of its greatest players into paranoia and madness, and yet is hailed as a remarkably powerful intellectual tool?

Nearly everyone has played chess at some point in their lives. Its rules and pieces have served as a metaphor for society, influencing military strategy, mathematics, artificial intelligence, and literature and the arts. It has been condemned as the devil's game by popes, rabbis, and imams, and lauded as a guide to proper living by other popes, rabbis, and imams. Marcel Duchamp was so absorbed in the game that he ignored his wife on their honeymoon. Caliph Muhammad al-Amin lost his throne (and his head) trying to checkmate a courtier. Ben Franklin used the game as a cover for secret diplomacy.

In his wide-ranging and ever-fascinating examination of chess, David Shenk gleefully unearths the hidden history of a game that seems so simple yet contains infinity. From its invention somewhere in India around 500 A.D., to its enthusiastic adoption by the Persians and its spread by Islamic warriors, to its remarkable use as a moral guide in the Middle Ages and its political utility in the Enlightenment, to its crucial importance in the birth of cognitive science and its key role in the aesthetic of modernism in 20th century art, to its 21st century importance in the development of artificial intelligence and use as a teaching tool in inner-city America, chess has been a remarkably omnipresent factor in the development of civilization. Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Spencer Sloe | 2/19/2014

    " A wonderfully written and engaging work about the daddy of all board games. I love the historical narrative interspersed with a recap of a famous game from the 1860s. Delves into the influence and impact the game had on various schools of thought and historical figures throughout the ages. Really got me interested in chess again. Recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Charles | 2/12/2014

    " Great chess book. This isn't just a dry history book, here history chapters are seperated by a captivationing narative of the Immortal Game between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky. The history chapters themselfs show how chess and culture affected each other trough out time giving as a vividly readable book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Martin | 2/10/2014

    " I read this book upon a friend's insistence, and was happy I did. The book details the history of chess quite finely, and does it through the lens of a much-heralded match in the game's storied past. There were two bits of information I found illuminating: 1) The queen increased her power via new moves in response to historical female figures gaining and exertion of power, 2) the "en passant" move, which I had not previously known. While reading the book, I played some chess games online and downloaded an app, and summarily got my keister whupped. I still enjoy chess, but mastery is far off. I'll continue my quest for domination in the Scrabble realm. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Douglas | 1/21/2014

    " Interesting as a history of chess. Sometimes seems as though it is trying to be much more than that, ie a complete history of Western Civ. At this, it fails magnifcently, being much too short and cliched. To be fair, a considered history of Western Civ is much too broad a subject for just one book. [ "

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