This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you buy from my links, at no additional cost to you, I get a small commission so I can buy even more books to review.
Birth of a Chess Queen by Marilyn Yalom
Genre: South American History
Length: 310 pages
First Published: 2001
“Marilyn Yalom has written the rare book that illuminates something that always has been dimly perceived but never articulated, in this case that that the power of the chess queen reflects the evolution of female power in the western world.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
Everyone knows that the queen is the most dominant piece in chess, but few people know that the game existed for five hundred years without her. It wasn’t until chess became a popular pastime for European royals during the Middle Ages that the queen was born and was gradually empowered to become the king’s fierce warrior and protector.
Birth of the Chess Queen examines the five centuries between the chess queen’s timid emergence in the early days of the Holy Roman Empire to her elevation during the reign of Isabel of Castile. Marilyn Yalom, inspired by a handful of surviving medieval chess queens, traces their origin and spread from Spain, Italy, and Germany to France, England, Scandinavia, and Russia. In a lively and engaging historical investigation, Yalom draws parallels between the rise of the chess queen and the ascent of female sovereigns in Europe, presenting a layered, fascinating history of medieval courts and internal struggles for power.
About Marilyn Yalom
Marilyn Yalom was a feminist author and historian. She was a senior scholar at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, and a professor of French. She served as the institute’s director from 1984 to 1985. Visit the author’s website→