Books du Jour, Episode #210 “The Monopolies of Monarchs”
The journey from the heavens to our heart can happen in the blink of an eye. But from the heart to the Heavens is a different story. Legal battles may stand in the way. Today, we look at the downfall of a king accountable only to the Gods above; the wandering Jews in search of a promised land and only facing rejection, and finally the legal battle for a board game in the wake of the financial crisis and its pernicious values.
Mary Pilon, “The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game.” The way the Parker Brothers tells it, Monopoly, the world’s most famous board game, was invented by an out-of-work salesman in the depths of the Great Depression, who sold his invention. A fabulous rags-to-riches story to say the least. But as Pilon explains it: “it’s just not quite exactly true.”
Charles Spencer, “Killers of the King” relates for the first time to the shocking stories and fascinating fates of the 59 men who signed Charles I of England’s death warrant in 1649. This act not only changed British history forever, reverberated across the ocean to the young British colonies in American, which more than 100 years later also rose up against their king, but also became their death sentence.
Roger Cohen, “The Girl From Human Street” trails the upheavals of a family saga, with none of the comfort of a happy ending. Through the decades, the Jewish sense of “otherness” is pervasive, and Cohen finds it has been significant factor in his family’s history of manic depression. A moving portrait and an elegy to his mother, June, who struggled most mightily with her illness. But also a tale of remembrance and repression, moral ambivalence, suicide, and amazing resilience.