Mark Braude & Mary Pilon - An Evening in Conversation (San Francisco)

Moderated by Jane Shaw

Monte Carlo has long been known as a dazzling playground for the rich and famous. Less well known are the shrewd and often ruthless strategies that went into creating such a potent symbol of luxury and cosmopolitan glamour. As historian Mark Braude reveals in his entertaining and informative Making Monte Carlo, the world’s first modern casino-resort started as an unlikely prospect—with the legalization of gambling in tiny Monaco in 1855—and eventually emerged as the most glamorous gambling destination of the Victorian era. The resort declined in the wake of WWI, and was reinvented, again, to suit the styles and desires of the new Jazz Age tastemakers, such as F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gerald and Sarah Murphy, and Coco Chanel.

Mark Braude teaches history and urban studies at Stanford University. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Southern California and a Master’s in French Studies from New York University. He has been a columnist for The Globe and Mail and has written for The Daily Beast and other publications. Mark was born in Vancouver and lives in San Francisco with his wife. Making Monte Carlo is his first book.

The Monopolists reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man's lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game's questionable origins.

Most think it was invented by an unemployed Pennsylvanian who sold his game to Parker Brothers during the Great Depression in 1935 and lived happily—and richly—ever after. That story, however, is not exactly true. Ralph Anspach, a professor fighting to sell his Anti-Monopoly board game decades later, unearthed the real story, which traces back to Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and a forgotten feminist named Lizzie Magie who invented her nearly identical Landlord's Game more than thirty years before Parker Brothers sold their version of Monopoly. Her game—underpinned by morals that were the exact opposite of what Monopoly represents today—was embraced by a constellation of left-wingers from the Progressive Era through the Great Depression, including members of Franklin Roosevelt's famed Brain Trust. 

Mary Pilon covered sports as a staff reporter at the New York Times and business at The Wall Street Journal. As a freelance journalist, Mary regularly writes about sports, business and politics for the New Yorker, Esquire, Vice, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fast Company, and MSNBC, among other publications. She is an honors graduate of New York University and currently lives in New York City.
Jane Shaw is Professor of Religious Studies and Dean for Religious Life at Stanford. Prior to that, she was Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, where she founded an artist in residence program, with Anna Deavere Smith as the inaugural artist in residence, and also hosted the Forum, interviewing a wide range of guests. She is a widely published historian, and her most recent book is Octavia, Daughter of God: the Story of a Female Messiah and her Followers (Yale). 



1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
Making Monte Carlo: A History of Speculation and Spectacle By Mark Braude Cover Image
for information about purchasing this book, please contact
ISBN: 9781476709697
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 12th, 2016

The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game By Mary Pilon Cover Image
for information about purchasing this book, please contact
ISBN: 9781608199655
Published: Bloomsbury USA - February 9th, 2016