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How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization Paperback – May 11, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
The author writes well. It is a fun read, but since getting back to England I've gained many cheap laughs by reading excerpts out loud.You have to trust an author when he states something as fact, but whenever I came across something I had personal knowledge of he gets it wrong.
His chapter on Ukrainian racism ends with him saying the racist abuse of black players there is not as bad as in England.Racist abuse was bad here 30 years ago, but disappeared many years ago.He talks of Iranian players `emigrating to play in English football- there's not one. He refers to the 1998 World Game, Germany v Iran, and says the`stadium was full of pro democracy Iranians. It was not. I was at that game . The stadium was full of Germans. And as for his`piece on Tottenham- someone was clearly winding him up.
This might seem picky, but instances like these made me suspect what he was saying about things I knew nothing about. If you want to read about football, pick up Simon Kuper's book 'Football against the enemy',David Winner's ' Brilliant Orange' and Pete Davie's brilliant 'All Played Out'. This book explained nothing
Foer provides evidence but offers no thesis. He says, "You can tell about globalization by looking at soccer, and here's what I found as I traveled and studied soccer." The reader is left to draw his or her own conclusions. Foer actually seems to avoid drawing conclusions since he often presents ideas following a "Some say this, while others might conclude the opposite" pattern. It also suffers from a common problem in books like these--the claims it does make are huge, as though a single soccer game could really inspire the Romanian revolution, the American culture wars, or the relaxation of fundamentalist Islam. Foer comes across as fairly certain he understands complex global issues despite his inability to develop a coherent theory of globalization!
In the end, this is a book with a lot of promise but not much else. It feels like a book that was sold as an idea, and the final product didn't fulfill the original goal. Choose a book on soccer or a book on globalization, but wait for a better book on globalization as seen through soccer.
That said, some of the chapters were compelling. The first chapter demonstrating how Red Star Brigade was instrumental in Serbian nationalism in the 90's was rather chilling. The chapter on Celtic-Chelsea rivalry and Nigerians playing in the Ukraine were also most interesting to me. As a soccer fan that catches the occasional MLS match on US television, follows the US national team, and watches several World Cup matches every four years, I found the essays broadened my appreciation for the sport. More dedicated fans of the beautiful game will probably find some of the essays less informative, since a few seemed more like good reporting and really didn't have anything really profound to say, despite Foer trying mightily to do so.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a fun light read. A lot of great anecdotes and fun facts about the world of football and the historical contexts of the teams. Read morePublished 4 days ago by jesse goldstein
Great book with in depth, behind the scenes look into clubs all over the world. Both the good and bad practices and tactics of many of the world's storied clubs and organizations... Read morePublished 4 months ago by jbm5036
This is a really good book and uses soccer to explain many different cultures throughout the world. Highly recommend.Published 4 months ago by Chris Ahern
Soccer is hands down the sport of the world and this book is a great reflection of that. What makes the read enticing is not just it's subject matter but all how politics can be... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ishmael
I personally didn't like the book very much. There was something about the narrative, which were interesting, but I found it diffcult to pinpoint what Foer was saying about... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
I picked this book because I am a soccer fan and I was interested in what new information about soccer the book would offer. Like I suspected, I really liked this book. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer