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Games, Gods & Gambling: A History of Probability and Statistical Ideas Unabridged Edition

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 080-0759400232
ISBN-10: 0486400239
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This chronicle of predictability was deemed "an exciting, highly readable history of mathematics for both the scholar and general reader" by LJ's reviewer, who added that "long mathematical expositions and formulae are used sparingly so that the reader with a limited background in math will not find this arduous reading" (LJ 4/15/63). Odds are most collections don't have a similar volume.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Unabridged edition (February 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486400239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486400235
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,542,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
F.N. David explores early perception of and ideas about random variation, starting from games of chance and divination in antiquity. Her view on these is fascinating, as is her interpretation of early signs of the apparition of chance arithmetic in medieval literature. Then she recounts the controversies and the lives of the great scholars of the 16th and 17th centuries, and finally the origins of the first treatises on "problems of chance" between 1650 and about 1750 (ending with de Moivre). Furthermore, an interesting selection of (translated) source material is included in appendices.
F.N. David's book is written in an attractive, narrative style that seems a bit old-fashioned and opinionated at times but never monotonous. Her facts are well documented and her viewpoints are mostly well argued, yet she does not attempt an exhaustive or mathematical treatment. Therefore the book remains very readable and stimulating to the end.
At the end of the book, the idea of statistical inference has yet to emerge. The more monumental work of Stephen Stigler, "The History of Statistics", takes the story up more or less where F.N. David left it, around 1700.
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