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Barca: A People's Passion Paperback – March 1, 2000
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'Excellent...A densely detailed account of the history of F. C. Barcelona ... Coincides with Barcelona's 100th anniversary but it is not in the least pious' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'Burns' examination of the club's fates and fortunes always goes well beyond the game itself...Burns is a brilliant journalist...Unmissable' TOTAL FOOTBALL
About the Author
Jimmy Burns is social affairs and employment correspondent at the FINANCIAL TIMES. His previous books are The Land That Lost Its Heroes, winner of the Somerset Maugham prize for non-fiction; Beyond the Silver River; Spain: A Literary Companion; and the internationally acclaimed Hand of God: The Life of Diego Maradona.
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Very well documented, fair, balanced and a treasure for anyone who really wants to learn how important soccer is in many countries. Highly recommended. Congra and my appreciation for your work Mr. Burns
So understanding that, let me just say that Jimmy Burns has done a fantastic job helping the reader understand how history has shaped the meaning of "Mes que un Club". Part history, part sociology, Burns discusses the club's history, both real and invented, that pushed FCB into being the opposition to Real Madrid.
Keep in mind this is more than a book on the Club. Burns adeptly weaves the Club and the sport with Catalan politics and identity. Always balancing the passions of "Cules" with the machination of the member's of the board, one truly gets a sense of the depth of history and passion behind the Club.
The reader learns some of the details behind some of FCB lore, from the Di Stefano controversy, the Kings Cup match against Real Madrid after the Civil War, to the famous field invasion that erupted into a pro-Catalunya demonstration toward the end of the Franco regime. Some of the myths are debunked, but in all, the Clubs history is given a fair shake.
Keep in mind - On the downside, Jimmy Burns does favor the Catalan club, more times than not. He doesn't approach the topic dispassionately.
As a follow up to A Peaople's Passion, another great read on Spanish football can be found in Phil Ball's excellent book, Morbo. It touches upon the unique history of Spanish football from it's roots in the mines of Huelva, through the use of the sport in identity politics, particularly in the Basque Country and Catalunya.
The last few chapters of this history manage a comeback. Johann Cruyff swoops down on the Catalan capital and with a combination of deft moves and Dutch footballing genius restokes Barca's smoldering fires. Cruyff is the catalyst. The passages describing his obsessiveness and his successors success or failure to embrace the pulsing life of Barcelona are intriguing pictures of the cultural assimilation phenomenon. Dutchmen, who possess a paradoxical nature, both catholic and single-minded, universal and gaulingly self-possessed, obviously feel a kinship with FC Barcelona, with the Catalan spirit. The present manager of the team, Frank Rijkaard, is a perfect example of the Dutchmen that Burns describes as having an essential talismanic role at the club. Forca Barca.