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Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer Paperback – July 29, 2008
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"One of those strangely informative books that will... entertain those who have little interest in either soccer or the Netherlands." -- The Economist
"This extremely well written and exciting book, like Nick Hornby's immensely enjoyable Fever Pitch, catches us up in its enthusiasm and puts us right there in the grandstands cheering for the Dutch coaches and players who changed the game of soccer forever." -- Booklist (starred review)
"Wry, obsessional, digressive, deep...this is football as art, metaphor, cultural signifier." -- The Guardian
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book a lot because it is original, unconventional and informative. It is easy to read and provides a useful introduction for anybody wanting to learn about this most intriguing of footballing nations. The book will interest people who are interested in the ideas behind football rather than a simple narrative history of football in Holland.
Part of the problem is that David Winner at times does too much telling rather than showing. One of the earlier reviewers remarked that access to video footage would be helpful. I agree, especially when Winner just keeps telling the reader how brilliant and beautiful the Dutch playing style is without much description beyond those mere adjectives. On the other hand, there are sections where the description is quite vivid, like that of the Cruyff turn. But it still falls a bit short. This book would work much much better as a documentary. Or at least there could have been greater and better use of pictures and illustrations.
Another problem on the strategy front is when Winner tries to stretch certain ideas to the absolute limit. At one point he concludes that a player's ability to curl the ball on a free kick made the defensive wall useless in such a situation. Winner fails to notice that if the wall wasn't there, someone else would blast the ball straigth through to goal. When you're forced to pick your poison with let's say Real Madrid, surely you'd rather let Beckham curl it rather than give Roberto Carlos a direct shot. A few of Winner's exasperating conclusions almost made me give up on the book.
Luckily, for the most part, I continued reading. Despite my disappointments, the book does provide fascinating observations on Dutch history, culture, people, architecture, etc.Read more ›
In a nutshell, the author suggests that Dutch society is reflected in its soccer. There are some ridiculously extraneous ideas here, such as (what I consider) filler material regarding the color orange, the seeming Dutch inability to win penalty kick shootouts, and the Jewish war experience in the Netherlands. However, the book really shines in Winner's many interviews with ex-players and managers. There are lots of great (and some contradictory) anecdotes about Cruyff, Van Basten, Rep, Rensenbrink, Keizer, Van der Gaal, and to a lesser extent Krol, Gullitt, Kluivert, and Bergkamp.
I would recommend this book only to those who are obsessed (at least mildly) with both soccer and Holland. Both worthy topics. The joy of the book is in its anecdotal fun, however; don't expect thesis material here.
This won't give you all the records and statistics of Dutch football.
Doesn't have a chronological history of the game in the country. Doesn't talk in detail about all their great players, great matches or great clubs. To sum it up, this book isn't the best preparatory material for a quiz on Dutch football. You might even end up in last place.
In that sense, it is quite unlike most of the books written about a country or a club's football history and culture. In fact, the writer often goes on for pages without even talking about football, forget Dutch football. And yet, it is in my humble opinion ( as well as that of most people who write reviews on Amazon.com and [...]) quite easily the best book on Dutch football.
Because David Winner's book deals with something much more profound and goes much deeper in its investigation.
It talks about the mental makeup of the Dutch nation - why they are what they are?
It does a very good job of explaining a lot of other Dutch peculiarities - and I use that word because the Dutch are the antithesis of a conformist regular normal world. And in doing so it answers the questions about Dutch football. Why and how the Dutch came up with Total Football? Why the Dutch lose all the important matches? Why the players always get into fights? Why it is wrong to call the Netherlands the Brazil of Europe? The Dutch concept of nationalism and patriotism? And the Dutch definition of a good footballer?
If Dutch football was a living person then this book makes it very clear that the head is the most important organ; more valuable than the feet. And then it does what Freud would have tried to do - study the person's head.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It is not just about the success of the Dutch soccer team! Read morePublished 1 day ago by Blue Skies
My son will love receiving this for Christmas. He is an avid Dutch soccer fan.Published 3 months ago by Analise M.
If you like football and are interested in the Dutch people or are visiting this is a must read!Published 6 months ago by Frank
An alright book. It's not badly written, but isnt exactly a real page turner - there are certainly large peaks and valleys as far as the material goes. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Christian Oehm
One of the strangest books ever. Really good.Published 7 months ago by Stephen Brandt - Yellow Carded Podcast
Very well written. Digs deeply into the Dutch soccer mentality. Not just a book about Dutch soccer. Explains a lot about the mentality and attitude of the Dutchies and life in the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
People interested in sports often feel that events are controlled by jinxes or bad luck, for their own team or for the opposition. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Richard Levine
More than a football book, in fact highly recommend this before anyone travels or moves to Netherlands! fascinating and brilliant!Published 13 months ago by Sujit
This interesting read gave me a good deal of insight on the inner workings of Dutch football (soccer) and how it compares to, and in some ways mirrors, Dutch society and... Read morePublished 18 months ago by CoolRyper