The Monopolists reveals the 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 with telling the true story of its questionable origins.
- Author: Mary Pilon
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
- RRP: paperback: $ 24.99
- e-book: $13.99
Most think Monopoly 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 30 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 to the Great Depression, including members of Franklin Roosevelt's famed Brain Trust.
A social history of corporate greed that reveals the cut-throat nature of American business over the last century, The Monopolists reads like detective fiction, told through Monopoly's real-life winners and losers.