We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Empire of Imagination Audiobook

Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons

Regular Price:$19.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

The life story of Gary Gygax, godfather of all fantasy adventure games, has been told only in bits and pieces. Michael Witwer has written a dynamic, dramatized biography of Gygax from his childhood in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to his untimely death in 2008.

Gygax's magnum opus, Dungeons & Dragons, would explode in popularity throughout the 1970s and '80s and irreversibly alter the world of gaming. D&D is the best-known, best-selling role-playing game of all time, and it boasts an elite class of alumni - Stephen Colbert, Robin Williams, and Junot Diaz all have spoken openly about their experiences with the game as teenagers, and some credit it as the workshop where their nascent imaginations were fostered.

Gygax's involvement in the industry lasted long after his dramatic and involuntary departure from D&D's parent company, TSR, and his footprint can be seen in the genre he is largely responsible for creating. But as Witwer shows, perhaps the most compelling facet of his life and work was his unwavering commitment to the power of creativity in the face of myriad sources of adversity, whether cultural, economic, or personal. Through his creation of the role-playing genre, Gygax gave two generations of gamers the tools to invent characters and entire worlds in their minds.

Told in narrative-driven and dramatic fashion, Witwer has written an engaging chronicle of the life and legacy of this emperor of the imagination.

©2015 Michael Witwer (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (147 )
5 star
 (96)
4 star
 (39)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
4.5 (140 )
5 star
 (85)
4 star
 (38)
3 star
 (15)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.6 (140 )
5 star
 (99)
4 star
 (33)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Tim Branann Chicago, IL 07-09-16
    Tim Branann Chicago, IL 07-09-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Man Who Created Worlds"

    Gary Gygax and his Magnum Opus " Dungeons & Dragons" changed the world. Doubt this? play any video game, or go the movie, or watch HBO and you will see the DNA of D&D. A fantastic take that grabbed me and would not let go.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Moira Chicago, IL, United States 03-29-16
    Moira Chicago, IL, United States 03-29-16 Member Since 2016

    avalonarchives

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrific Reader Terrific Read"

    Very enjoyable story HIStory while also providing not only Gygax's story along with the history of D &D Great reader and starting most chapters with an actual scenario brilliant giving those unfamiliar with the game a real sense of its now legendary legacy. I owned a small mapping company in the early days of Gen Con and it was pure delight to read about people like Tim Kask etc who we interacted with in those early days when my sons would trade our map stamps for products.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam 11-16-16
    Sam 11-16-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Story of Bittersweet Successes"

    Empire of Imagination is a bit of a dramatic retelling of Gary Gygax's life, more in spirit than to the letter, but it benefits for not treating his story as a simple documentary. Conveying a vision is a big part of what he set out to do, so a small touch of the fantastic actually seems more faithful than doing it any other way.

    It's easy to get wrapped up in the story behind Dungeons and Dragons and its creator. It's primarily a business story, but it comes with a lot of character and passion to push things forward. There's invention, betrayal, difficult choices to make and a cast of rivals and friends who periodically operate by his side. It's a cohesive enough tale that by the end, I was eagerly awaiting the classic return to form where everything finally wraps up and comes full circle, somehow forgetting that real life is rarely that poetic.

    And that about sums up this book. It's a complex weave of a narrative with fantastical segments interspersed for tone, but in the end it's still grounded in reality. It's not the rags-to-riches, feel-good story I expected, but it was a journey worth having.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cody 09-18-16
    Cody 09-18-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    90
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An incredible telling of Gary's life story"

    I found this book to be incredible! I have recently gotten into D&D and have fallen hard! I find this book all the better due to the immersive feeling and insight into Gary's life. I found that the author did a great job of putting us into Gary's own mind. This book also draws on your emotional strings by bringing Gary's philosophical thoughts and thoughts regarding his relationships with his family to life!

    I also think the narator did a fantastic job! The portrayal of the scenes and perspectives were well delivered, exactly how I would think the author would want it done!

    I definitely recommend this heart felt biographical story!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-16-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good stuff"

    As a teen of the early 80s this was a great peak into what went on around the game I enjoyed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bindusara United States 08-12-16
    Bindusara United States 08-12-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent"

    loved everything about this book and it's presentation. A+ all around. it's a must buy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alberto Hernandez Greenville, SC USA 02-25-16
    Alberto Hernandez Greenville, SC USA 02-25-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I wish it were more factual"

    It is interesting and entertaining. Unfortunately, I find it hard to enjoy because it is a dramatization of Gary’s life. The is a lot of dialog that makes it feel like a story instead of a history. That makes it difficult to take the story seriously.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Mr Stephen Somerton
    8/27/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Story of a Legend"

    Thank you Gary for hours of fun and imagination. I was lucky enough to grow up in an era when you were bringing your realms of wonder to our world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • robert brooks
    7/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "ever played D&D"

    a real good listen well read good story of what was going on at TSR at the time we (my friends & I were playing at the time it was happening)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Taffy666
    Wales, UK
    3/7/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A thoroughly enjoyable account..."

    Of the life of Gary Gygax. For d&d nerds and others, this in depth look at the life of the Father of RPGs examines the brilliance and weaknesses of the man. The performance was not so great but the story was enough to encapsulate the listener anyway.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.