Synopses & Reviews
Plato said God invented dice. This we learn from one of Ricky Jay's fascinating essays in a delightful small volume that takes us from the earliest forms (astragalithe heel bones of hoofed quadrupeds, four of whose six sides were used for gaming) to the myriad types of "loading" and other means of cheating with dice in the modern era. Along the way we discover that Augustus, Caligula, and Nero were all inveterate players, that Queen Elizabeth issued a search and seizure order against the manufacture of false dice in 1598, and that dice made from celluloid, invented in 1869, remained stable for decades, and thenin a flashbegan to decompose. These are the dice of Rosamond Purcell's luminous and seductive photographs, images which transform entropy to an art form. Jay and Purcell give us a dual meditation on dice that will educate us and amuse us at the same time. 13 color photographs.
Jay rolls the history of dice in this entertaining and informative volume that takes readers from the earliest forms made from animal hooves, to those made from ivory, celluloid, and plastic. He also charts the infamous players of history, accompanied by Purcell's seductive photos. 13 photos.
About the Author
Ricky Jay is perhaps best known as a sleight-of-hand performer whose one-man display of talent set a record as the fastest selling show in off-Broadway history. He is also an actor, a scholar, and the author of highly popular books including the best-selling Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women and, most recently, Jay's Journal of Anomalies. Rosamond Wolff Purcell's beautiful photographs of the strange and unusual have appeared in countless publications and have been collected in museums throughout the world. Among her many books are Special Cases: Natural Anomalies and Historical Monsters, Finders Keepers: Eight Collectors, and Crossing Over: Where Art and Science Meet, the latter two with Stephen Jay Gould.