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Historical Dictionary of Soccer (Historical Dictionaries of Sports) Hardcover – September 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Dunmore (English-born, Chicago-based, award-winning soccer writer) packs a wealth of information into this dictionary on "the beautiful game"--now better known as "the global game" for its popularity and profitable commercialism. The brief preface prepares the ground for the meaty 250-page dictionary section (comprising more than 400 cross-referenced entries). Included are a list of acronyms and abbreviations, FIFA member associations by country, and a useful chronology (extending from 206 BCE to 2010). Dunmore's 18-page introduction is a solid, up-to-date history of soccer as it evolved in Europe and South America, and especially in Scotland and England--from upper-class beginnings down to the working masses. The author covers the organization of the Laws of the Game, the formation of regional associations, the growing importance of fans, soccer's commercialization and globalization (especially through television), and the growth of women's soccer in the late 20th century, especially in North America. The dictionary section features long and short entries, describing places, e.g., world-famous stadia in Rio, Mexico City, London, and elsewhere, along with others tragically remembered for disaster and death (e.g., Hillsborough and Ibrox). Stars like Pele, Maradona, and Beckenbauer, and modern icons like Beckham, Messi, and Mia Hamm, all find their places here. Soccer terminology, e.g., offside, corner kick, foul throw, and penalty shootout, is explained for the uninitiated. Teams like Manchester United and Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and many more are all highlighted in their national and international settings through cross-references. Rounding out the dictionary are 20 appendixes, e.g., on FIFA presidents and players of the year; and a bibliography, with information including periodicals and websites of interest. No photographs, illustrations, or concluding general index. Dunmore is to be commended for packing so much into just 300-plus pages. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. (CHOICE)

Dunmore, a writer, blogger, and columnist for Chicago Sports Weekly, offers a comprehensive overview of the world’s most popular sport. The introductory essay is followed by more than 400 cross-referenced entries that cover countries, teams, terminology, rules, championships, and people associated with the game, including Pelé and David Beckham. Reading the entries reveals the evolution of the game, from its earliest days as a game called cuju (meaning “kick ball”) played during the Han dynasty in China and popularity with working-class men in England to its spread across the globe, the marketing of team logos and shirts, and the international appeal of the game as created by television. There is also a plethora of information on such topics as hooliganism, stadiums, sanctions, and women’s soccer and its stars. The book’s 20 appendixes include listings of male and female FIFA World Players of the Year and dates, hosts, winners, and runners-up in the Olympics, the World Cup, and other international events. BOTTOM LINE A must for soccer fans. (Library Journal)

For those more interested and experienced in soccer and its history, this volume in Scarecrow’s new historical sports dictionaries is a welcome addition to reference literature. Arranged in alphabetic order, more than 400 names, places, terms, organizations, leagues and conferences, teams and schools, and events chronicle the history of the game. Included are players (men and women), teams, and even brief entries on countries where soccer has become such an internationally popular game. Terminology used in the game is briefly documented. An interesting chronology and introduction precede the well-written entries and 20 appendixes trace presidents of the federation of soccer, FIFA World Players, Olympic Games, various national cups, and intercontinental cups. Cross-references in bold lead the reader to other relevant entries. Nearly 20 pages of bibliography conclude this useful ready-reference book. This is an excellent reference source for students, researchers, and the general public needing facts about soccer on an international level. (American Reference Books Annual)

Overall, this volume will act as a useful general reference source. It is a worthy effort that belongs in any library where the history of sport or soccer is either studied or the subject of serious interest. (Reference Reviews)

Tom Dunmore undertook a colossal task when he decided to write a historical dictionary of soccer. ... Dunmore’s historical dictionary is very well researched, written and structured. The book is divided into several parts: editor’s foreword; preface; acronyms and abbreviations; chronology; introduction; dictionary; 20 appendices (arranged in alphabetical order from A to T); and a bibliography. ... [T]his is an outstanding historical dictionary with a wide range of potential readership. It would be a great addition to the shelves of any research or university library, not to mention the private book collections of many soccer aficionados. (Sport in History)

About the Author

Tom Dunmore is a soccer writer and executive. In 2010, he was appointed as Vice-President of the Chicago Riot Soccer Club of the Major Indoor Soccer League. He publishes an award-winning global soccer culture blog, Pitch Invasion [pitchinvasion.net], and he was an international soccer columnist for The Chicago Sports Weekly from 2007 to 2008. Tom is originally from Brighton, England, and now resides in Chicago, Illinois.

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Product Details

  • Series: Historical Dictionaries of Sports
  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810871882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810871885
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,403,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Nick VINE VOICE on September 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Historical Dictionary of Soccer is extremely comprehensive and covers a great number of players throughout the years. As a recent newcomer to the sport as a fan, this is a great starting point. I vaguely knew of the origins of the sport, but didn't have a full understanding as to the breadth of the sport. And now the sport is played everywhere and watched by billions. It's astonishing how names of players like Messi, Beckham and Maradona can be mentioned all over the world and are looked upon as heroes or villains. Along with the billions that are spent on the sport, it's an economic and political powerhouse that is a hard subject to get a full grasp on.

A lot of the book's credit goes to the author, Tom Dunmore, who combines historical analysis from the view of a historian, along with the fan's perspective. The book is highly readable.

This book is a dictionary and not so much a casual book to sit down and read. If you want to settle a bet or dig deep and research something on the sport, this is the book for you. It's not to say that fans won't enjoy this at all - they would. However, the only real downside is the cost of the book. It's not the author's fault, but it's price way above what is considered a "must" as a fan of soccer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Firstly, I do not blame the author, the text is well-written and accurate, if abbreviated. It is obvious that the book needed to fit a format, and for the world sport of association football, 1000 pages would be more appropriate than the less than 300 that the book actually contains. Any follower of the sport, and more particularly any historian, will be able to find countless examples of items missing, presumably landing on the cutting-room floor. I open to one random page (51/52, for example) to find that John Charles and Martin Chivers are absent, yet there is an entry for Bum-Kun Cha. This is the ever-present theme and frustration. I would gladly have paid the very steep price for a more complete and exhaustive dictionary, but the size of the volume dooms it to a grade of "incomplete." I waited and found it used, for $10...I wouldn't suggest spending more than $20 or $25 for it. An upgraded, much more complete edition could be absolutely invaluable, but this effort falls short.
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