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Football Against the Enemy Paperback – November 6, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Simon Kuper is the author of Football Against the Enemy and writes for the Observer and the Financial Times.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (November 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752848771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752848778
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #688,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Apart from a very informal writing style and a few errors like calling 1994 Brazilian presidential candidate LULU instead of LULA (Lula btw is the next President of Brazil), this book is just a jewel.
He shows well how culture and society mingle with sport, in this case, soccer. He was spot on repeatedly, such as:
--Holland Vs. Germany rivalry. I've asked Dutchmen about whether those comments regarding the war are true and they said yes.
--Brazil vs. Argentina: he said an American journalist never saw home court advantage such as the rabid fans in the Nunez venue in the Brazil match. True again. When these two play in either country home court advantage blows away anything US sports fans are used to.
And on he goes. If you are a diehard soccer fan as I am, you will love this book!
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Format: Paperback
Young journalist Kuper travelled around the world like a madman to gather the stories of soccer's relationship to politics and culture collected in the book's twenty chapters. The result is a book that will delight anyone with an interest in the world's most popular sport, and will intrigue those interested in the world beyond their boundries. The book's sole flaw is a certain choppiness, which is partially due to the haphazard nature of his travels, and partly due to Kuper's perhaps overambitious goal of examining how soccer "affects the life of a country" and "how the life of a country affects its football." Concentrating on one or the other would have given the book the focus it lacks-but that doesn't detract from its power.
Kuper uses soccer as a lens to look at the most central issues of the modern world race (South Africa), religion (Ireland and Scotland), culture (Brazil), totalitarianism (Argentina & East Germany), corruption (Ukraine), poverty (Africa), and especially nationalism (Holland, Slovakia, Catalonia, Serbia).E ven those who dismiss sport as an "opiate of the massess" and don't care for soccer will be forced to acknowledge the sport's popularity and centrality, especially in less-developed nations. Each chapter is a stand-alone piece, with lengths varrying from 5-25 pages or so, perfect for reading on the bus or just before bed. The only other cavaet on the book is that it does often seem rather dated, and one keeps wishing it was a bit fresher. Still, this is a great bit of journalism and one every soccer fan should read.
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This is a really fine book, very difficult to put down. All of the chapters were interesting. As a Celtic fan, I enjoyed the chapter on the Old Firm and his non-involved, outsider's perspective was both amusing and illuminating (after all, for those of us who support one or the other, it's difficult to "step back" and examine things). Because the book is now quite a few years old, there are some political realities that have changed considerably, but it doesn't detract from how well Kuper captures the times and places he documents. I think even someone with only the faintest notion of the game itself would find this book enjoyable to read, as its focus is primarily cultural, social and political. A terrific read. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
this is the book that you have been waiting to read. this is the book that you wanted all those times that you went to the bookstore and found one sad "soccer skills for 10-year-olds" book hidden amongst a mass of other sport books. it has won all the prizes and is written by simon kuper, who grew up in holland and knows the game. he uses great wit, his knowledge, and passion for the game that we love. he writes about matches he has seen in africa, clubs he has visited in the former soviet union, fans he has met along the way. you walk away after reading this thinking, "someone understands."
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Kuper definitely does his homework in writing this book, probably the first of its kind when written in the early 90's. I is hard to not appreciate all the traveling and risks he took in getting some of these interviews, but then again he is sometimes self serving about how hard the journey's were. Anyhow, he picks his topics well and focuses on one aspect of a particular area or rivalry that gives us a glimpse into the whole.

Some drawbacks were already apparent in the first chapter where you could clearly read into a bit of bias, but it only hurts it minimally. Overall, a great read into the world of 90's soccer with the history to back it up. Definitely reads differently than if it was written today as the politics of football have faded to make way for the business of football, but only 20 or so years ago it was quite different, great to appreciate the difference.
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Format: Paperback
This book is written in a style that will appeal to the lazy sunday reader in search for a funny read about football and politics, or the serious academic seeking answers to how a nation's culture manifests itself in the football style it adopts.
Kuper's book is simply outstanding. In it, we find out why the Dutch hate the Germans, the secret behind the success of Dynamo Kyev, and why anyone trying to map a post-war history of English culture must explain Gazza's tears. No serious football aficionado should be without this book.
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