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The Global(ized) Game: A Geopolitical Guide to the 2014 World Cup [Kindle Edition]

Harrison Stark
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99

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Book Description

The 2014 soccer World Cup in Brazil will be more than just a sporting competition. It will be one of the biggest events anywhere, ever – a month long geopolitical showcase which virtually the entire globe will passionately follow. This sharp, fun, and irreverent guide lays out the tournament for both the casual and impassioned fan: the teams, the players, and the cultural styles that make each country’s soccer tradition unique. Learn why Holland always underachieves, why Brazil doesn’t, and what’s really stopping the USA from winning the World Cup. Discover, too, how Brazil’s recent protests relate to the World Cup and how this will be, in all likelihood, one of the last ever World Cups to matter. Whether you’re a frenzied fan or a soccer-skeptic, this is more than an introduction to the 2014 World Cup; it is a collection of soccer essays you’ll want to read and reread for years to come.

Product Details

  • File Size: 853 KB
  • Print Length: 159 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #691,434 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Time May 22, 2014
While it's clear that the author has a real passion and love for the game, and that he's a decent writer, he comes up short across the board. Ideas aren't fully formed or explored, analysis is mediocre and sophomoric at best, and parts of what he writes are just flat out wrong. It seems like he read David Goldblatt's "The Ball is Round" and Franklin Foer's "How Soccer Explains the World", decided to recreate the section on geopolitics for national teams (as opposed to club teams like Goldblatt and Foer), and came up miserably short. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but in this case, it just looks like a weak attempt at piggybacking on someone else's successful idea. Do yourself a favor and don't waste your time. If you want good books on the game, the aforementioned "The Ball is Round" and "How Soccer Explains the World" are both definitely worth checking out, as are "Soccernomics" by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, "Brilliant Orange" by David Winner, "Soccer in Sun and Shadow" by Eduardo Galeano, and a number of others.

That being said, if you're new to the game or just a casual fan, you'll probably find this book enjoyable (as the previous 2 posters most likely were, really can't fathom any other scenario in which they'd give this 5 stars) as it does cover an interesting topic and is pretty well-written. If, on the other hand, you're as passionate about the game as the author is, and you've actually paid attention to it a bit/have a knowledge-base about this sort of thing and are hoping to learn more, you're (most likely) going to be disappointed as this just rehashes arguments and theories that other authors have already covered quite extensively without bringing much new perspective or many new ideas to the table.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny outlook for the upcoming world cup May 28, 2014
I became aware of this book through a soccer blog on a website, where Stark's review about the U.S. team was printed. I thought that that blog was well written, funny, and spot-on. It was one of the chapters of this book.

The book is basically a compilation of short essays about the 32 participating nations of the upcoming world cup. Stark did not come up with all the information himself, but he quotes much from other authors. Even though I have been interested in soccer throughout my life, I have never gone into the details of all the players, but rather observed a team as a team, or, in this case, as a nation. For this kind of thinking, the book is perfect. Even though it does contain some information about the teams' most important players, the focus and the best part to read is what soccer means in the countries that will play and how well the author thinks they will do in the tournament.
Not all the of 32 essays are equally entertaining, but most are and I had enough laughs while reading the book to give it 4 stars.

I read the Kindle version, and I was told that the printed version can be different when it comes to editing. I surely hope so, because I can otherwise not understand why the author praises "a laser-sharp editing eye" in his acknowledgements. In that regard, the book was a pain to read. There was not a single chapter without several misprints or grammatical mistakes. It was so bad, I was actually wondering if it was edited at all. I know the tournament is coming up and there surely was a deadline, but that was borderline to pathetic. There are also a few blunders with regards to content (e.g. England did not qualify against Wales; the teams Bosnia Herzegovina supposedly qualified against are the ones they will face in the upcoming Euro 2016 qualification). I did not let that influence my rating, but found it so annoying that I have to mention it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars World Cup 2014 crash course June 5, 2014
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Most soccer fans are familiar with a few teams and more or less aware of the details of their confederations.
As a result unless their team is playing, the game looses some of its attractiveness.
And, there is the World Cup with its complexities, layers, untold stories and yes, it is in one or two weeks. So much to learn, so little time.
This is the value of this book. It offers a simple way to become familiar with essentials aspects of the participating teams, history, players and a rough description their socioeconomic context. Sometimes funny, not always accurate but definitely entertaining.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new look at soccer's big show June 14, 2014
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I was interested in this book after reading Harrison Stark's posts on Salon's soccer blog. I broke down and bought this e-book. A very good read and a new, more nuanced take on each qualified country's soccer team and their prospects for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, a very enjoyable collection of essays May 28, 2014
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As other reviewers have noted, the analysis is not groundbreakingly original. Stark is obviously a huge fan of writers like Simon Kuper and the influence shows. But I'm not sure originality is particularly important consideration-- part of the appeal is that Stark quotes a wide variety of journalists and commentators, including Kuper. Better to consider the essays a curated, breezy collection of observations, elegantly stitched together, about the thirty-two national teams heading to Brazil this summer. A lot of national stereotypes and tropes do get played, sometimes lazily, but that is sort of the point.

Throughout, Stark has a keen eye for a revealing quote and/or anecdote, a generally strong knowledge of the teams, and a sense of humor. He's also an gifted writer.

So no, this won't be appointed successor to "Soccernomics" or "How Soccer Explains the World." It's a short and often tongue-in-cheek guide to this summer's competition. Particularly for the lesser acquainted, it really shows how soccer is much more than a sport. For $3.99, you could do a lot worse.
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