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The Great Mahjong Book: History, Lore, and Play Paperback – December 15, 2006


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The Great Mahjong Book: History, Lore, and Play + Beginner's Guide to American Mah Jongg: How to Play the Game & Win + Winning American Mah Jongg Strategies: A Guide for the Novice Player
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (December 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804837198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804837194
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Anyone seeking to learn mahjong, improve their skills, or especially, play the game while visiting another nation, is enthusiastically recommended to immediately add a copy of The Great Mahjong Book to their personal library." —Midwest Book Review

Mah jongg instructor Rep, a Dutchman, casts a wide net to provide general background on the game and explain how it is played today and has in the past been played around the world. [The book] is clearly written and well illustrated with numerous examples." —Library Journal

About the Author

Author Jelte Rep is a passionate proponent of the Game of the Thousand Miracles, researching its history, equipment, playing variants and cultural artifacts. In addition to teaching mahjong and organizing mahjong tournaments, Rep spends his time filming documentaries and writing dramas for television.

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Customer Reviews

Many errors weren’t just grammatical, but actually caused a bit of confusion.
B. J. Ford
The author's love for the game shows in this book; the historical information is interesting and the illustrations fun.
Erin Snow
I purchased this book for my library on Mah Jongg as I am just learning to play the game.
Gary R. Yaden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Written by globe-trotting mahjong enthusiast Jelte Rep, The Great Mahjong Book: History, Lore, and Play is a thorough guide to the history and play of mahjong world wide - illustrated throughout in full color, which is particularly helpful when it displays sample mahjong tile groups. The straightforward text covers both basic and advanced mahjong rules for gamers of all skill and experience levels, and an index allows for quick and easy reference. Anyone seeking to learn mahjong, improve their skills, or especially, play the game while visiting another nation, is enthusiastically recommended to immediately add a copy of The Great Mahjong Book to their personal library.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mikko Saari on August 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
Jelte Rep's Great Mahjong Book, originally published in Dutch, is an interesting tour of mahjong around the world. It starts from the history of the game - not thousands years like many sources like to claim, but actually more like 150 years.

Then he takes a look at how the game is played in the US, Japan, China, other Asian countries and several European countries. The local variations are described, not always in great detail, but detailed enough so you can try them out if you wish. If you want to learn a particular style well, get a book or a web site focused on that variant, but for a general overview, Rep's book is excellent.

Add to that a sleek, stylish layout and plenty of good pictures, and you get a rather fine book on a rather fine game. This book will serve both newbies and enthusiasts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeanette L. Ko on January 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like this book and have given it as a gift to mahjong enthusiasts who have also liked and enjoyed it. Its a good explanation to just about everyone of the different rules and the different meanings of the tiles. No one I know thats seen this book hasnt learned something! This comes from a white woman married to a Chinese man and has friends of every Asian background!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By pbk63 on November 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Would love to give this five stars because it does have some interesting history but its flaws are just too great. For example in discussing play of Majhong it fails to discuss when seasons are played and how they are played. Also, while useful to know variations around the world it is more confusing than helpful. I started playing this with my grandparents in the 1940's on vacation and recently dusted off the old set we used. I had an old manual from 1923 that was excellent manual on playing with strategy and other tips that were really useful. I had hoped this would be a more modern version. Still, it is a useful book for those who want some of the history and see some of the variations of play including the National Mahjong League in the US and their annual card with rules of play for the year. So while I cannot give it above three stars if you understand what this book , and is not, you may find it of use. Unless you are playing American rules or some variation of Mahjong if you can find a 1923 copy of Snyder's Ma-jung this is a clear and easy to understand book on play in the 1920's in the US. It is exceedingly well done. If you own that book then this book is also useful as it will illustrate some of the variations which are useful to know should you ever want to play variations. Both books together make for a better understanding of the game but for playing I find Snyder the better book despite its age! Here is current Amazon link which may or may not be active should all copies already be sold. If so can search for it under Snyder's Ma-Jung. [...]
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Reading “The Great Mahjong Book” by Jelte Rep is like going on a globe-trotting adventure. It’s great to see the continuing popularity and endurance of this game.
Approximately the first quarter of the book basically explains the Chinese version of the set and rules. Most of rest of the book is divided into chapters arranged by country that explain regional variations. There are separate chapters for “Old” China, China today, America, Japan, Great Britain, Holland, France, Germany, and Italy. In addition to regional variations of the rules, each chapter also contains interesting facts about the social impact of the game in different parts of the world at different times in history.
The text on pages 63 through 95 is the chapter pertaining to mahjong in America. Less than ten pages (from the bottom of page 83 to the top of page 93) is devoted to discussing the American National Mah Jongg League version of the game (which the author refers to as “Maj”). But for an enthusiast of the game who enjoys expanding their knowledge regarding all its forms and varieties, the book is very entertaining and worth the read.
There were a few typographical errors, but not as many as I expected (the author’s first language is Dutch, and there’s an error on the back cover: “o Vers” should be “offers”). Many errors weren’t just grammatical, but actually caused a bit of confusion.
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