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Of Dice and Men

The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It

Foreword by Joe Manganiello

About The Book

Updated with new chapters and an introduction for the 50th Anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, the fascinating and authoritative history of Dungeons & Dragons that “tracks D&D’s turbulent rise, fall, and survival, from its heyday in the 1980s…to the 21st century” (The Wall Street Journal), by award-winning journalist David M. Ewalt.

Even if you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, you probably know someone who has: the game has had a profound influence on our culture, and 2014 marks the intriguing role-playing phenomenon’s 40th anniversary. Released decades before the Internet and social media, Dungeons & Dragons inspired one of the original nerd subcultures and is still revered by more than 30 million fans. Now, the authoritative history and magic of the game are revealed by an award-winning journalist and lifelong D&D player.

In Of Dice and Men, David Ewalt describes the development of Dungeons & Dragons from the game’s origins on the battlefields of ancient Europe through the hysteria that linked it to satanic rituals and teen suicides to its apotheosis as father of the modern video-game industry. As he chronicles the surprising history of the game’s origins (a history largely unknown even to hardcore players) and examines D&D’s lasting impact, Ewalt weaves laser-sharp subculture analysis with his own present-day gaming experiences, “writing about the world of fantasy role-playing junkies with intelligence, dexterity, and even wisdom” (Ken Jennings). An enticing blend of history, journalism, narrative, and memoir, Of Dice and Men sheds light on America’s most popular form of collaborative entertainment.

About The Author

Photograph by Cameron R. Neilson

David M. Ewalt is an award-winning journalist, author and speaker and an authority on the intersection of games and technology. He is the author of the books Defying Reality: The Inside Story of the Virtual Reality Revolution and Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It. He previously worked as the Editor in Chief of Gizmodo and wrote for The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Forbes. Find out more at DavidMEwalt.com. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (March 28, 2024)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668050101

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Raves and Reviews

“An engaging book that fuses history and memoir. [Ewalt] tracks D&D's turbulent rise, fall and survival, from its heyday in the 1980s… to the 21st century.” —The Wall Street Journal

"The core of Ewalt’s story is his experience of role-playing games. He explains it about as well as anyone could, short of experiencing it yourself." —Seattle Times

“Dungeons & Dragons has been a huge part of my life. The book sheds light on the world of [D&D co-creator] Gary Gygax, and it also lets the reader into the mind of somebody questioning how cool this game is.” —Vin Diesel

"A fascinating history of D&D written by an author who authentically loves the game. Whether you know what d20 means or not you will love this book!" Felicia Day, actress, producer, creator of The Guild and Geek & Sundry

“David Ewalt writes about the world of fantasy role-playing junkies with intelligence, dexterity, and even wisdom. (I am unable to speak to his strength, constitution, or charisma.)” Ken Jennings, author of 100 Places to See After You Die and Maphead

"The best book I've read since the Monster Manual." David X. Cohen, executive producer of Futurama

“David Ewalt’s wit, insight and infectious love of D&D make him the perfect guide to the most significant game of the twentieth century. The book is a joy to read.” Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist

"A fascinating window into the storied history of fantasy pen and paper gaming. A must-read for anyone curious about the genre." Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare

“It's almost impossible to explain how Dungeons & Dragons works, and harder still to explain how it feels. This book comes as close as any I've ever read.” Chuck Klosterman, author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and I Wear the Black Hat

“Long before I made my mark in software, I was a pretty good Dungeon Master, and D&D has played a significant part in my life. In addition to covering much of the deep history of the game that I never knew, Of Dice and Men brought back tons of fond memories, and damned if it didn’t make me pull some dusty old rulebooks off the shelf at home.” John Carmack, co-founder of Id Software

“David Ewalt offers a genial history of Dungeons and Dragons and its impact on his own geek life…. A highly readable account of a game that seized the imagination of a generation and maintains its grip three decades later.” —Publishers Weekly

“Even audiences normally indifferent to D&D’s charms will find Ewalt’s overview witty and absorbing, and the game’s devotees will discover much here to revel in and quibble with.” —Booklist

"The author’s devotion to the game does much to illuminate role-playing’s enduring power on mortal men and women." —Kirkus

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