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Download The Immortal Game Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Immortal Game (Unabridged) Audiobook, by David Shenk
3.96 out of 53.96 out of 53.96 out of 53.96 out of 53.96 out of 5 3.96 (28 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: September 2006 ISBN:
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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!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 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 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 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 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. [ "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Benjamin | 1/19/2014

    " Fun, informative history of the game. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mike Rogero | 1/9/2014

    " It was interesting enough to rekindle a long smoldering love of the game. Recommended for those curious on why chess is so well loved. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike Angelillo | 1/6/2014

    " If you enjoy the game at any level you will love this book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rori | 12/15/2013

    " Excellent history of chess book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jcooper Cooper | 11/5/2013

    " Great writing, clever layout, weaving history through the telling of a painfully gorgeous game, play by play, and a fun romp through Persian castles, rumors about why the Vizier piece became a Queen, seas of interesting anecdote, and Shenk's own familial relationship with the game. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elsa | 10/2/2013

    " I wanted to learn about chess history but got a tad disappointed. The most exciting part of the book concerns the game played between to chess Grandmasters back in 1850. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lizzy | 7/13/2013

    " Great book. Made me love the game again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doppelganger | 6/16/2013

    " A very interesting book covering all historical aspects of the game, right down to its political impact, evolution of playing pieces and rules throughout the years. Who would've thought this game could impact the important history of so many different cultures? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ian | 4/17/2013

    " Good overview of the history of the game, the secrets of its lasting attraction and role in the development of cognitive science, AI, etc. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 8/24/2012

    " This COULD be an interesting history. However the author has muddled it up so much and jumps around so often that the book is hard to follow and there's little sense of chronicity. Not one of the better examples of non-fiction I've run across. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Masymas | 5/12/2012

    " I'm only into chapter 3 and I LOVE this book. I don't play chess, and not sure if I will start, but this is a fascinating tour of history through a game. It touches on the development of Math, political systems, empires, morality, reason.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 4/23/2012

    " A really great book that I read sometime ago: because of my interests in chess and history I fully intend to reread this someday and once again enjoy Shenk's examination of the far reaching influence that the game of chess has had throughout it's long history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Osvaldo Ortega | 11/13/2011

    " Awesome book if you are into chess, a great history of the great game. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Stephenson | 10/6/2011

    " Very enjoyable account of the history of Western chess, framed in a blow by blow account of a famous encounter between Adolph Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritsky in London (1861). "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anthony | 6/30/2011

    " Fascinating subject. It's a shame this book was written by a talentless hack. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wes | 3/29/2011

    " I loved this history of chess that is tied to the "Immortal Game". The way he walks through the game at the beginning of each chapter to bring the "Immortal Game" to light was great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jcooper | 1/13/2011

    " Great writing, clever layout, weaving history through the telling of a painfully gorgeous game, play by play, and a fun romp through Persian castles, rumors about why the Vizier piece became a Queen, seas of interesting anecdote, and Shenk's own familial relationship with the game. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brett | 1/10/2011

    " Enjoyed it. Shenk creatively weaves a narrow history of chess with an account of the Immortal Game between Anderssen and Keiseritzky. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Benjamin | 1/4/2011

    " Fun, informative history of the game. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ian | 10/27/2010

    " Good overview of the history of the game, the secrets of its lasting attraction and role in the development of cognitive science, AI, etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 8/4/2010

    " A really great book that I read sometime ago: because of my interests in chess and history I fully intend to reread this someday and once again enjoy Shenk's examination of the far reaching influence that the game of chess has had throughout it's long history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ???? | 3/13/2010

    " SMART ENOUGH !! !
    LIKED IT AND THE WAY HE TALKS ABOUT CHESS !! LUVD IT :D "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Osvaldo | 11/3/2009

    " Awesome book if you are into chess, a great history of the great game. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doppelganger | 8/28/2009

    " A very interesting book covering all historical aspects of the game, right down to its political impact, evolution of playing pieces and rules throughout the years. Who would've thought this game could impact the important history of so many different cultures? "

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About the Author
Author David ShenkDavid 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.
About the Narrator

John H. Mayer is a writer, actor, and audiobook narrator. In 1973, he cowrote Radio Rocket Boy, an award-winning short film. He also has narrated dozens of audiobooks, including American Lion and The Wolf Tree, among many others.