Knockout Narratives Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    The Powell's Playlist | January 5, 2015

    Tim Johnston: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Songs for Not Sleeping by Tim Johnston



    I once told a medical-profession-type lady that I didn't sleep well, that I awoke all through the night and was awake for hours. "What do you do... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$7.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Hawthorne Games- Chess

More copies of this ISBN

This title in other editions

The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess-Playing Machine

by

The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess-Playing Machine Cover

ISBN13: 9780802713919
ISBN10: 0802713912
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $7.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On an autumn day in 1769, a Hungarian nobleman named Wolfgang von Kempelen attended a conjuring show at the court of Maria Theresa, empress of Austria-Hungary. So unimpressed was Kempelen by the performance that he declared he could do better himself. Maria Theresa held him to his word and gave him six months to prepare a show of his own. Kempelen did not disappoint; he returned to the court the following spring with a mechanical man, fashioned from wood, powered by clockwork, dressed in a stylish Turkish costume—and capable of playing chess.
The Turk, as this contraption became known, was an instant success, and Tom Standages book chronicles its illustrious career in Europe and America over the next eighty five years. Associated over time with a host of historical figures, including Benjamin Franklin, Catherine the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Babbage, and Edgar Allan Poe, Kempelens creation unwittingly also helped to inspire the development of the power loom, the computer, and the detective story. Everywhere it went, the Turk baffled spectators and provoked frenzied speculation about whether a machine could really think. Many rival theories were published, but they served only to undermine each other.

Part historical detective story, part biography, The Turk relates the saga of the machines remarkable and checkered career against the backdrop of the industrial revolution, as mechanical technology opened up dramatic new possibilities and the relationship between people and machines was being redefined. Today, in the midst of the computer age, it has assumed a new significance, as scientists and philosophers continue to debate the possibility of machine intelligence. To modern eyes, the Turk now seems to have been a surprisingly farsighted invention, and its saga is a colorful and important part of the history of technology.

Review:

"A fine description of the fascination with automata and magic that was so prevalent in the late 18th and early 19th centuries..." Library Journal

Review:

"Tom Standage writes intelligent and engaging prose?The Turk kept me reading through energy and imagination." Providence Journal

Book News Annotation:

Standage, technology correspondent for The Economist, tells the tale of an automaton comprised of a mechanical man dressed in an oriental costume seated behind a wooden cabinet and capable of playing chess. It was built in the late 18th century by Hungarian civil servant Wolfgang von Kempelen, was a hit in the courts of Europe, was associated with noted figures ranging from Napoleon to Edgar Allan Poe, and helped inspire the computer and the detective story.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Part historical detective story, part biography, "The Turk" relates the saga of an unusual 18th century robot--fashioned from wood to look like a man who was dressed like a Turk and played chess. 25 illustrations.

About the Author

Tom Standage is technology editor at The Economist magazine and the author of four history books, "A History of the World in Six Glasses" (2005), "The Turk" (2002), "The Neptune File" (2000) and "The Victorian Internet" (1998), two of which have been serialized as "Book of the Week" on Radio 4. "The Victorian Internet was made into a Channel 4 documentary, "How The Victorians Wired the World". Tom has previously covered science and technology for a number of newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Wired and Prospect. He holds a degree in engineering and computer science from Oxford University, and is the least musical member of a musical family. He is married and lives in Greenwich, London, with his wife and daughter.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Carol, April 14, 2006 (view all comments by Carol)
One of the best books I've ever read, exciting, absorbing, and, best of all, it's true. Mr. Standage gives The Turk so much personality that I was in tears by it's demise, and elated by its recreation many years later. It neatly expresses the attitudes of people towards automation over the period of the industrial revolution: from the belief that anything might be possible, to the proof of impossibility of a chess-playing machine, full circle to the realization of the original dream. This book has everything you could ever want.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802713919
Subtitle:
The Life and Times of the Famous 19th Century Chess-Playing Machine
Author:
Standage, Tom
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Chess
Subject:
Robotics
Subject:
Modern - 18th Century
Subject:
Automaton chess players.
Subject:
Kempelen, Wolfgang von
Subject:
Chess - General
Subject:
TEC056000
Subject:
General Biography
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series Volume:
107-14
Publication Date:
20020401
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
7.25 x 5.38 in

Other books you might like

  1. The Crossword Obsession: The History... Used Hardcover $5.50
  2. Simply Scones: Quick and Easy... Used Trade Paper $2.95
  3. Genome: The Autobiography of a...
    Used Hardcover $4.95
  4. Crow & Weasel Used Hardcover $5.95
  5. The Last Resort Used Hardcover $7.95
  6. Return of the King CD (Lord of the... Used Compact Disc $9.95

Related Subjects

Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Games » Chess
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Technology

The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess-Playing Machine Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Walker & Company - English 9780802713919 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A fine description of the fascination with automata and magic that was so prevalent in the late 18th and early 19th centuries..."
"Review" by , "Tom Standage writes intelligent and engaging prose?The Turk kept me reading through energy and imagination."
"Synopsis" by , Part historical detective story, part biography, "The Turk" relates the saga of an unusual 18th century robot--fashioned from wood to look like a man who was dressed like a Turk and played chess. 25 illustrations.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.