Angel 's Reviews > The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous 19th Century Chess-Playing Machine

The Turk by Tom Standage
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's review
Jul 12, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: history

Another one I read in 2003. My journal notes from the time:

>>This is about the 18th century chess playing machine. This author also wrote The Victorian Internet, which I read a while back. . . .This book works in a similar way to the other one. The author documents the Turk's history, in the process illustrating its time period very well. Reading about the different speculations at the time of how the Turk worked was very interesting, even Benjamin Franklin played against it, and much later Edgar Allan Poe tried to decipher its secrets. The part about Poe was interesting since the author showed how the investigation or inquiry into the Turk foreshadowed the method of his detective characters. In the end, the Turk's secrets were revealed. A magician who builds a replica explains the process. Last chapter draws a parallel to Big Blue playing chess with Kasparov. Overall, the book was a pleasant read. A good historical narrative and a nice way to see how the past touches the present." <<

The strength of the book as well is the fact that the secret is not revealed until the very end, and I am not telling now because I want people to read it.

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