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Ajax, the Dutch, the War: The Strange Tale of Soccer During Europe's Darkest Hour Paperback – September 11, 2012
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An intriguing work.”
The Forward[Kuper] is the world expert on the intersection of soccer, culture and politics.”
World Football Commentaries[A] provocative, well-researched and captivating book. The author takes you down a road less-traveled to unearth a rich trove of remembrances: Memories that were previously hidden from public view but never forgotten by their protagonists .The author’s writing style is detailed, journalistic and captivating .Mr. Kuper told a story that needed to be shared with a larger audience .This seminal work is not only about soccer, a country and a people, but rather the good and bad qualities found in human nature.”
Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review
[A] poignant tribute.”
Jewish Book World
[A] bold and comprehensive book.... [Kuper] deepens our understanding of Europe’s darkest hour.”
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Top Customer Reviews
More than any other Western European country Holland welcomed the Nazi if for no other reason than to make their occupation go smoothly. But when the war ended many in Dutch society tried to deny their past and act like they couldn't be blamed. It took a new generation, coming of age in the 60's to force the Dutch to live up to their past.
Kuper chooses Holland's most famous club, Ajax of Amsterdam. The Ajax stadium was located inside the Jewish section of the city. Many of the clubs directors and back room staff were Jews. No club suffered more at the hands of the Nazis and their compliant Dutch hosts. Kuper finds the survivors and gets their stories. I cried.
As Dutch society changed, driven by the post war generation, Ajax was reborn through a combination of English and Dutch coaches. They found and developed Europe's greatest ever player Johan Cruyff. Cruyff took his teammates to the heights of the European game with 3 consecutive European Cups and a runner up spot in the 1974 World Cup. He then left for Barcelona as a player and a manager. Spain has won the last two European Nation's Cup and the last World Cup, playing a system created and taught by Cruyff. Because of his time at Ajax it was assumed by many (especially Cruyff's many critics) that he came from a Jewish family. Cruyff denied that. Kuper suggests that those who made those claims were in fact the the the inheritors of the Nazi collaborators during the war, willing to trash the reputation of the country's greatest sporting hero to preserve anti-Semitic prejudices from the past.Read more ›
- Demythization of some sensible prejudices;
- A lot of useful information;
- Recommended to all football and history lovers.
The book could have been organized better by the editor.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read the afterword to the US edition. And seriously, never ever in my whole life, I've read so much Bulls***. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Reinier
A great social history of an important sport and team.Published 15 months ago by Christopher M Gacek
This book REALLY needed an editor. There could have been a decent story here about the war, Ajax, and its relations with Dutch Jews, unfortunately, I was not able to sift through... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Rob
All I can say, he must really hate the Dutch. A lot of what is in the book has been said before and better.Published on February 13, 2013 by Maria C. Stoneham