Monopoly: The World’s Most Famous Game and How it Got That Way


The classic Parker Brother’s board game Monopoly has a long, interesting history. Philip E. Orbanes takes the Monopoly story back to 1852 and continues with it for the next one hundred and fifty-four years.

Go back in time with the author as Atlantic City is being built. Meet the people who created and further developed the predecessor games to the Monopoly game we know today. The evolution of the game is fascinating; despite changes in its appearance and rules, despite wars and economic hardships the world over, and more recently, courtroom battles, Monopoly has persevered and flourished, even when introduced overseas.

Interesting tidbits about the mascot, the tokens, the paper money, and the hotels and houses are incorporated into the history, as are statistics about prices (there is a two million dollar Monopoly set), number of games sold, and information about the different versions of the game. For example, “special edition” Monopoly games made during World War II containing money, maps, and tools were delivered to soldiers in POW camps.

Monopoly is played worldwide, sometimes for titles and prizes. In 1973, the first official championship game was held. Orbanes judged many such Monopoly championships and writes about a U.S.A, Canadian, and World Championship in this book.

There remains fun information to be had near the end of the book too. He writes features on Monopoly collectors and researchers as they describe their collections. He includes appendices listing compilations of Monopoly figures and facts (such as George Parker’s 1936 Monopoly rules), and a thirty-two page black and white Monopoly gallery showing the game board and some of the pieces throughout the years. Likely there are many more of these years to come; the game’s near-monopoly on perpetual popularity shows no sign of fading any time soon.

To win a free copy of this book, be the fourth person to email the name of your favourite monopoly property or game piece to [email protected]