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Download The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal behind the World’s Favorite Board Game Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal behind the World’s Favorite Board Game, by Mary Pilon Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Pilon Narrator: Chris Sorense Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Monopolists reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man’s lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game’s questionable origins.

Most think it was invented by an unemployed Pennsylvanian who sold his game to Parker Brothers during the Great Depression in 1935 and lived happily—and richly—ever after. That story, however, is not exactly true. Ralph Anspach, a professor fighting to sell his Anti-Monopoly board game decades later, unearthed the real story, which traces back to Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and a forgotten feminist named Lizzie Magie who invented her nearly identical Landlord’s Game more than thirty years before Parker Brothers sold their version of Monopoly. Her game—underpinned by morals that were the exact opposite of what Monopoly represents today—was embraced by a constellation of left-wingers from the Progressive Era through the Great Depression, including members of Franklin Roosevelt’s famed Brain Trust.

A fascinating social history of corporate greed that illuminates the cutthroat nature of American business over the last century, The Monopolists reads like the best detective fiction, told through Monopoly’s real-life winners and losers.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A legal, corporate and intellectual whodunit…The tale, like the game, becomes a parable for American capitalism, with powerful players stamping out competitors and fortunes being made or destroyed at the roll of the dice…anyone who grew up playing Monopoly will have a hard time resisting The Monopolists.”

    Washington Post

  • “With more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie mystery, reporter Pilon reveals the tumultuous history of Monopoly…More entertaining than the game itself.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “The book abounds with interesting tidbits for boardgame buffs but treats its subject seriously. After reading The Monopolists—part parable on the perils facing inventors, part legal odyssey, and part detective story—you’ll never look at spry Mr. Monopoly in the same way again.”


  • “Thoroughly researched and deftly paced, this fascinating narrative is at once legal thriller, folk history, underdog story, and exposé of corporate greed, and deserves a wide readership among fans of Monopoly, critics of monopoly, and all who enjoy a good story well told.”

    Library Journal

  • “Pilon invests this surprisingly contentious chronicle with a dynamic mix of journalistic knowledge and subtle wit…A fascinating, appealingly written history of an iconic American amusement.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2015 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
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About the Author

Mary Pilon is an award-winning sports reporter at the New York Times. She was previously a staff reporter at the Wall Street Journal for the paper’s Money and Investing section. In 2011 she was named one of Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 for media. Her work has appeared in Gawker, USA Today, and New York magazine and she is an honors graduate of New York University. She lives in New York.