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Love and Blood: At the World Cup with the Footballers, Fans, and Freaks Paperback – October 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156030985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156030984
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,057,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The FIFA World Cup is the planet's biggest event. Not sporting event-event, period, writes Trecker in this in-your-face firsthand account of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Trecker, Fox Sports soccer columnist, is passionate about the game (Munich exploded in the sixth minute when Phillip Lahm, employing his signature move, cut from the left side into the area to sink a powerful right-footed shot into the top of Jose Porras's net) and the players (What makes Zidane truly special is not that he can control the pace of a match-there are other holding midfielders in the game-but that his motions and instincts are artful, serene, and beautiful). Unfortunately, Trecker, while covering the sport, the games and the '06 World Cup comprehensively, falls prey to clichéd sports writing. He spends much time describing brothels (in South Korea and Germany), topless women and drunken debauchery-of both fans and the media alike. While not without its pleasures, this is mostly for the already initiated rather than the general reader. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In the run-up to the 2006 World Cup, U.S. publishers offered many books explaining the World Cup, soccer, and why players aren't allowed to use their hands. Certainly, many Americans still need the help, but books timed to coincide with the event lacked a crucial element: results. The U.S. team went home early, but journalist Trecker went the distance. His firsthand account of soccer madness is lively and intelligent, as full of funny anecdotes as it is opinionated commentary. He doesn't stint the historical context, either, detailing not only the history of the tournament but changing cultural and political attitudes toward it. And if he occasionally provides a little too much background—the U.S. history of the game is a book in itself (see Jim Haner's Soccerhead, 2006)—he goes some other writers one better by placing the tournament in another crucial context: financial (because money is what makes the world of sport go round). This comes too late for 2006 World Cup newbies, of course, but it proves to be the book they were waiting for. Graff, Keir

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Customer Reviews

When it does, I won't be so inclined to buy anymore.
Paul Marc Oliu
There are footnotes galore here and they seriously undermined the work's readability while often adding little of substance to the overall account.
Bernard Chapin
One other thing i didn't like was all the footnotes (they don't add much at all).
Michael P. Hart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Keith Perry on December 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
I had no grasp of how little I knew of US Soccer, much less the world cup, until reading Trecker's book. It is a "stay up all night 'cause it's so engaging" flight through the politics, sociology, finance, underbelly and countless freaks which color the world football stage. It doesn't just tell the story (and it does, with great entertainment value); it gives you an understanding of all the forces behind the story, and why it matters.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Koehler on November 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up on my way out of a Borders store, not having previously heard anything about it. The title and the short description on the back, however, intrigued me as I spent 4 weeks at home in Germany last summer.

Trecker does a good job shedding light on the workings of FIFA, the US soccer federation and the problems the sport faces in the US. The soccer tidbits in the book are a good read, but he gets much too shallow when he tries to analyse participating countries, their followers and customs. He should have left the judgement out of this book (or analyse deeper) - after all, why do I care about his inability to buy medicine in the host country, something he goes into some detail about? And while he complains multiple times about perceived transportation problems he makes no effort to investigate the underlying reasons - good journalism reads differently.

While I found the concept (reading a book about the 2006 World Cup) intriguing, the execution fell short of my expectations.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Paul Marc Oliu on December 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before I begin, it would probably be wise to let everything out. After all, if a reader understands where I am coming from, they can take my observations with the appropriate grains of salt.

First off, at one time, I was writing for any number of soccer sites, including MLSnet.com. I gained somewhat of a reputation from my work at the now defunct InternetSoccer.com. In some circles I guess I was considered a "journalist," but I laugh at that one, as I personally wouldn't sully the reputation of the many good real journalists out there by lumping myself in with them. Anyhow, thanks to my work, I had a chance to interact with a good many soccer journalists, including the author of "Love & Blood: At the World Cup with the Footballers, Fans, and Freaks," Mr. Jamie Trecker.

Among the many of us who intently follow the sport in the US, there is this sort of love/hate relationship with Mr. Trecker. On the one hand, we value and appreciate the few professional soccer writers in the US. On the other, Mr. Trecker has been one of the most outspoken critics of Major League Soccer, US Soccer, and anything else related to the US game. Like anything, some of his criticism is justified, some of it is not. Many of the disagreements many have with him is the fact has to do with personality, his argumentative style, and his pretentiousness. Throw in a penchant for the perceived lack of substance and his running loose with facts, you can understand why his name causes many soccer fans to roll their eyes.

There are other reasons as well, but if you are reading "Love & Blood" you are probably well aware of the issues. In fairness, Mr. Trecker has always stated that his objective was to cover the sport the way other sports are covered.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul Nelis on September 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I haven't followed soccer since playing it as a kid, but Trecker instantly drew me into not just the game, but the scene. Starting with the Introduction (2002 World Cup), and driving straight through the aftermath of the 2006 World Cup, you get incredible camera angle after camera angle showing what's important on the field, off the field, and why.

The World Cup doesn't happen in a vacuum. They're all four years in the making, and most every every player has a day-job for some other club. Trecker shares the back-stories that helped me understand the headlines and commotion around the 2006 World Cup. That is, however, the least of the book's accomplishments.

As with all great writing, this book gave me pause--threw me into reflection, sent my thoughts spinning. As I read, I had moments where I was shuddering to suppress laughter inappropriate for my surroundings. At other times, I let the book fall into my lap as I considered, for instance, the social implications of suddenly liberating a repressed female society with not just public independence, but with anonymity...

This is an exciting book, a sometimes incendiary book, but also a deeply thoughtful book that's much more than the coverage of a World Cup, or two. Balancing personal to the point of confessional with the most analytic investigative journalism, Trecker's narrative is unvarnished, compassionate, insightful, and always from the hip. His recounting of matches is often thrilling, and the history is informative, but the real treasure is his depiction and analysis of both the context and personalities of the World Cup--ultimately illustrating that in various measure we are all footballers, fans, and freaks.
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Format: Paperback
If the write had only stuck to soccer it could have been a good book. It is too self-absorbed and almost self-pitying at times and that made the book repeatedly annoying.

There is no question write knows a lot about the trials and tribulations of soccer matches in the world cup arena, but it just was lost in the personal detritus.

The book was also decidedly long with historical asides that got very lengthy, and the writer is no expert in history but is a Fox sports reporter apparently.

There are better "football" books.
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