From Publishers Weekly
This comprehensive and often entertaining history of gambling begins with the origins of odds and evens as an ancient divination "game" and ends with the 21st-century Internet gambling phenomenon. Schwartz, a historian at the University of Nevada's Center for Gaming Research, gets credit not only for his thoroughness in describing the development of gambling in Western Europe and the U.S., but also for including gambling in Native American, Chinese and other non-Western cultures. Similarly inclusive is his examination of the doctrinal attitudes of each of the world's major religions toward the human penchant for gambling. Schwartz adds interesting anecdotes, even if likely apocryphal: aces, for instance, supposedly became superior to kings as a result of 18th-century French revolutionary fervor. But this thoroughness leads Schwartz to devote too much space to the rules of archaic games of chance and to the exploits of famous and not- so-famous gamblers. Although he doesn't ignore the underside—such as compulsive gambling and cheating—this aspect is underdeveloped. Also, a more in-depth inquiry into why people gamble and the societal impact of government-sponsored gambling, such as lotteries, would have made this encyclopedic effort even more complete. (Oct.)
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An epic story with an epic cast. . . . Remarkable.
The Washington Post
[A] lively history of gaming through the ages.
the New York Times
[A] fine history. . . . Schwartzs celebratory account of gamblings history confirms the persistence of this human impulse down through the ages.
The Wall Street Journal
Remarkably detailed. . . . A wealth of fine material.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
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