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Children's LiteratureThis book weaves the history of the popular board game, Monopoly, together with the history of Atlantic City, whose streets provided the names for the color-coded properties on the game board. The game was originally created as the "Landlord's Game" a teaching tool to popularize economic theories. It caught on as a past-time, with people recreating the board on oilcloth. A group of friends added the names of their streets in Atlantic City. Charles Darrow was introduced to this version of the game, and tried to peddle it to Parker Brothers, who declined the offer. When it started selling like crazy through FAO Schwarz, Parker Brothers reconsidered. Atlantic City started through a similar push by one man, Dr. Jonathan Pitney, who touted the area as healthful. Many made fortunes building the beach town. The book is organized according to the color groupings of the properties, from the dark purples of Baltic and Mediterranean (where African-Americans stayed) to the pricey dark blues of Park Place and Broadway. Picture postcards from the heyday of Atlantic City are used as illustrations. Landmarks such as the Steel Pier are discussed, but alas, no photographs of the diving horses or "Rex the Wonder Dog" are included. The book is graphically pleasing; with the colorful Monopoly board providing bold accompaniment to the more subdued hues of the postcards. A fascinating look back in time, the book also yields strategy hints for serious players. 2004, Gibbs Smith, Ages 14 to Adult.
—Dr. Judy Rowen