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Backgammon Bibliography        
  Authors Cooke, Barclay
  Bradshaw, Jon
  Title Backgammon - The Cruelest Game
  Subtitle The Art of Winning
  Cover Cover Cover
  Softcover Hardcover
  Year 1974
  Pages 210
  Publisher Random House Inc., New York
  Binding Hardcover (with dustjacket) / Softcover
  ISBN 0-394-48812-1 (Hardcover) / 0-394-73243-X (Softcover)
  Language English
  Remarks Hard- and softcover version published at the same time.
  From the same Author Paradoxes and Probabilities, 1978
Championship Backgammon, 1980
  Book Reviews "It's worth noting, for the interest of the original poster, that probably 90% of the material in Cooke's first & most widely read book (Cruelest Game) still hold just fine. [..] Cruelest Game remains an excellent introduction to thinking seriously about backgammon. [..]
Also -- the book is a pleasure to read. It looks good, is written with style and real personality -- something I find lacking in post-70's backgammon books, especially introductory ones. The classic books of the 70's really help a newcomer to recognize and enjoy the drama and beauty of the game, rather than treating backgammon as some sort of math problem. Cruelest Game, Deyong's 'Playboy's Book', Jacoby/Crawford, -- I don't think they have modern equivalents in print." – Albert Steg, rec.games.backgammon, August 1998

"When I learned BG in 1975, Cooke/Bradshaw was not only considered the best beginning book, but simply the BEST BOOK on the game. (Of course there weren't any advanced books back then...). [..]
He was very heavy on defensive tactics, was almost obcessed with building the 20-point, but had a serious distaste for splitting the back checkers (on the 24-point). His cube recommendations ("when in doubt, don't double; when in doubt, take") also tended to be on the conservative side by today's standards. He much preferred to double his opponent out rather than to see a take (and risk the potential frustration if the game turned around):
Having said all that, Cooke was definitely (IMO) a proponent of using one's head while playing backgammon. That advice will never go out of style! [..] You could do a lot worse than reading Barclay Cooke." – Chuck Bower, rec.games.backgammon, August 1998