Do Not Pass Go: The Real Story Behind Monopoly

In The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game, reporter Mary Pilon reveals the tumultuous history of Monopoly. The famous board game was first created by Lizzie Magie to promote the economic theories of Henry George, but it’s more often credited as the brainchild of Charles Darrow, an unemployed man struggling to feed his family in the midst of the Great Depression.

Pilon says the story came to her by accident. In 2009, she was at the Wall Street Journal, about to write a story for the paper about the economic downturn. She decided to open with Monopoly, because it’s a financial icon that everybody knows was created during the Great Depression. Pilon started looking around and it wasn’t adding up. She had heard about a lawsuit by Ralph Anspach. So she called him and said she was researching the history of Monopoly. And he said, “I’ve waited for years!” The pair started talking.

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