Monday, December 25, 2006

Thomas Frère and the Brotherhood of Chess

Thomas Frère and the Brotherhood of Chess
McFarland & Company has added another book to the chess history shelves: Thomas Frère and the Brotherhood of Chess: A History of 19th Century Chess in New York City, by Martin Frère Hillyer (one of his descendants). It receives favorable mention in Lubomir Kavalek's chess column today and is available from Amazon for $39.95. I suspect it will fit my definition of a social or cultural history of chess, since it discusses the development of "liesure society" in the 19th century as the back-drop for the game's popularity: "Enjoying numerous technological advances, people had free time to indulge in a variety of pursuits. An assortment of board games flooded American homes. By the middle of the century, chess had surpassed all other games with its popularity. The author of three important chess texts, Thomas Frère was instrumental in the growth of chess as a significant American pastime" (McFarland). Another for my wish list. Too bad Santa has come and gone....

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