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From the Publisher"Robert Leonard toiled for more than a decade on his manuscript on the creators and creation of game theory. I can attest to the reader that the end result was well worth the wait. Leonard's nuanced account is 'thick history' at its best; he captures the protagonists and their milieu with precision and flair. It is a signal achievement." - Bruce Caldwell, Duke University
"The publication of The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern in 1944 was hailed by one reviewer as 'one of the major scientific achievements of the first half of the twentieth century.' Another reviewer signaled that 'the techniques applied by the authors in tackling economic problems are of sufficient generality to be valid in political science, sociology, or even military strategy.' In this exemplary study in the history of economics, Robert Leonard has given us a masterful account of the gestation of this work, starting with the importance of chess in European intellectual life at the beginning of the twentieth century and ending with the military applications of game theory at the RAND Corporation during the middle of the century.
"In a superb example of scholarly detective work, Leonard has given us absorbing parallel biographies of von Neumann and Morgenstern, while painting a fascinating background of the Hungarian mathematical scene and the Viennese economic world. It is a drama with dozens of characters, each of whom influenced the final history. Every practitioner of game theory and every student of twentieth-century intellectual history should read this book." - Harold W. Kuhn, Princeton University
"Robert Leonard excavates a multifarious genealogy for John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern's pioneering Theory of Games and Economic Behavior by following the trajectories of its two authors across a landscape that features some of the early twentieth century's key sites of mathematical aspiration, economic disputation, and political and personal tragedy." - Ted Porter, University of California, Los Angeles
"Leonard unpacks the contributions of developments in psychology, philosophy, mathematics, economics, and politics during the first half of the twentieth century to the origins of game theory. He shows how external events - the rise of Nazism, World War II, and the beginning of the Cold War - interacted with the personalities of von Neumann and Morgenstern and their successors to shape the development of the theory itself and the unanticipated uses to which it has been put. The result is a book that combines the rigor of a textbook with the excitement of a historical novel." - Marina von Neumann Whitman, University of Michigan
"For anyone interested in early twentieth century preliminaries to the development of the theory of games, this book by Robert Leonard is well worth reading. It is the product of many years of careful scholarship and presents much information that was basically unknown to those who came to game theory after the 1940s." - Martin Shubik, Yale University, Journal of Economic Literature
"Because of the major historical developments in Europe in the early to mid twentieth century, this text provides a fascinating account of the men making major mathematical and economic advances during the period."
-Thomas Philip Wakefield, Mathematical reviews