Justin's Reviews > Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons

Empire of Imagination by Michael Witwer
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really liked it
bookshelves: geek-history-and-culture

As an avid fan of Dungeons & Dragons and RPGs in general, I've always been interested in the history of this particular hobby. And while I've read books on the origins of the game itself (Of Dice and Men), this is the first time I've seen an in-depth biography of the man who started it all.

In-depth is certainly the right term here, as we see a cross section of Gygax's entire life, from childhood to his death in 2008. There were a lot of ups and downs at work here, both in his personal and professional life, and Empire of Imagination doesn't flinch away from examining them. But neither does it linger on Gygax's failures, any more than it overemphasizes his victories. This is a balanced, respectful look at the life of a man who changed the face of pop culture forever; for the first time, I feel like I have a solid feel for the life of the proverbial "man behind the curtain."

I'd definitely recommend Empire of Imagination, if you have any interest at all in D&D. It's full of unexpected revelations, interesting details, and raises a lot of what-if questions, about where the game would be today if things had gone just a little differently. It's not a long read, but it's certainly worth your time.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 25, 2016 – Shelved
January 25, 2016 – Shelved as: geek-history-and-culture
January 25, 2016 – Finished Reading

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