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Calcio: A History of Italian Football [Kindle Edition]

John Foot
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £12.99
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Book Description

The first history of Italian football to be written in English, ‘Calcio’ is a mix of serious analysis and comic storytelling, with vivid descriptions of games, goals, dives, missed penalties, riots and scandals in the richest and toughest league in the world.

‘Calcio’ tells the story of Italian football from its origins in the 1890’s to the present day. It takes us through a history of great players and teams, of style, passion and success, but also of violence, cynicism, catenaccio tactics and corruption.

We meet the personalities that have shaped this history – from the Italian heroes to the foreigners that failed, the model professionals to the mavericks. ‘Calcio’ evokes the triumphs (the 1982 World Cup victory) and the tragedies (Meroni, the 'Italian George Best', killed by his number one fan), set against a backdrop of paranoia and intrigue, in a country where the referee is seen as corrupt until proven otherwise.

Calcio is no longer a game. It is sometimes difficult to define it as a sport. It is certainly big business and a fanatical civic religion. There is no moral code here. Winners are always right, losers always wrong. This history of Italian football reveals all about the richest and toughest league in the world.

Product Description


‘“Calcio: A History of Italian Football” reveals more about the national character than any dry study of politics or economics ever could. This is a hefty work but there is so much going on that the pace never slackens. Foot is a meticulous and knowledgeable guide to his complex subject and leaves the reader wanting to investigate further.’ Andrew Baker, Daily Telegraph

‘John Foot is head over heels in love with calcio, and his detailed, thematically structured account of its past and present is overwhelming evidence of that.’ Independent, Sport Section Book of the Week

'An excellent chapter on British failures in Serie A but it's the many scandals that one keeps coming back to.' Observer Sport Monthly

'Foot's exemplary history shows how football and Italian society are inextricably intertwined, and is full of fascinating vignettes.' Sunday Times

'Highly readable… “Calcio” has set an impressive benchmark for football histories in general.' Sean O'Connor,

'Like a match-winning penalty taken in extra time, this is a book not to be missed.' Oldie

'Foot mixes serious analysis and comic storytelling to bring to life tales of paranoia and intrigue…’ Scotland on Sunday

‘“Calcio” is an impressive addition: a comprehensive history of Italy's national obsession…' Sunday Business Post

'The jacket's claim that Calcio should be read “by anyone interested in football” is far too modest – it should be read by anyone interested in either football or Italy.' Guardian

Andrew Baker, Daily Telegraph

'...the pace never slackens...a meticulous and knowledgeable guide...leaves the reader wanting to investigate further.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 994 KB
  • Print Length: 643 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007175752
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New Ed edition (21 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036FOGXI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126,870 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive history of Calcio 18 April 2012
By Guido
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having grown up through the days of Rivera, Mazzola, Sivori, Charles when Italian football was the most important thing in everyone's life, this book gave me a very good background of the way the modern game has developed in Italy. Controversial in parts with its description of certain characters (Nereo Rocco for one), but accurately puts its finger on the reasons for calcio's decline over the years: betting scandals, corruption, doubts about results, endless court cases, violence in the grounds. And throughout all this the national side managed to win 2 World Cups since 1982!
The more recent times, with Maradona, Van Basten, Gullit, Baggio, Paolo Rossi, Baresi, Maldini and hundreds of world class players appearing in Serie A are well worth pondering over; back in the 1980-1990 all the best players in the world competed in what was then the best league in the world. A far cry from today's half-full arenas.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good without being amazing 18 Mar. 2010
By Ivan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It took me a while to read the whole book; I found myself dipping in and out of it, and I guess that is the good and bad about it: you can read it and enjoy it but it ain't going to set your world alight in the way that Tardelli or Zola did. Foot clearly knows his stuff and has done his research and some of the book is very interesting, but a lot of it drags on rather, as if he is trying to fill a chapter/topic with yet another story when he probably didn't need to. It can be over-factual and encyclopaedic when I would have liked a bit more personal interest from him or the characters he details. But I do now know more about Italian football and I like it for that.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stupendo! 10 April 2006
By A Customer
A great read for anyone interested in football, Italy or Italian football. The author takes us through the history, the scandals, the players, the teams and the mysteries which have surrounded the game in Italy. Funny, sad and powerful at the same time, it reads like a thriller whilst having a strong historical base in documents and research. Great Stuff! I learnt a lot despite being a fan of the game. Hilarious section on the English and Scottish players failures in Italy. Terrifying section on the fans.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb insight into Italian football. 31 July 2006
To many people, Italian football is a mystery. On one hand, Italy has produced some of world football's best players and is home to the world's biggest clubs. The football is often beautiful and there is never a lack of passion. On the other it embraces the worst parts of the game with games often soiled with blatant cheating and racist fans.

Calcio does a very good job in attempting to shed light on the Italian mindset and the culture and society that spawned its approach to the beautiful game.

The author John Foot clearly has alot of love for the Italian game but that doesnt cloud his judgement of the dark side of the game. He is rightly outraged by the unchecked racism that has blighted the game since the 1990s. In fact the book really ecsells in the chapters on fan culture. He also delves into the scandals and murders that have occured within the game.

From the origins of Calcio through to the personalties who have shaped the game, such as Benito Mussolini and on to Silvio Berlusconi, Foot has created a detailed and enjoyaable account of Italian football. All the major players who have played the game including; Gianni Rivera, Giacinto Facchetti, Gigi Riva, Marco Van Bastin etc, are all examined.

This book is a superb journey into a football crazy nation highlighting some of the best and worst of Italian mentality. It is only a pity that this wasn't published until later so as to include the recent match fixing scandal, the largest in Italian history, and Italys triumph in the World Cup.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 19 Sept. 2012
By Steptoe
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great book that will entertain you with knowledge, little facts (do you know why Italy's away kit is white?) and above all an insight into Italian football and the personalities that have shaped it!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 14 May 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This massive work gives a sweeping survey of the history of Italian football. Brilliantly written, Calcio is full of great anecdotes and thought-provoking, intelligent analysis without going into unnecessary detail. Calcio touches on every aspect of football in Italy and particuarly shines in the tragic rise and fall of Torino and the Superga tragedy. A story which is important in the story of not onyl Italian football but also in world football but yet maybe not widley known in the UK.

Key players are also covered in Calcio with splashes of humour as well as an assessment of their place and impact in Italian football. The real value of Calcio is that it gives you an accessible introduction of the history of Italian football and that it encourages you to read more on particular aspects of this subject.

A great read!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good but needs editing 22 Jan. 2014
This book is a good read but suffers from repetition and too many tangents into trivia (albeit often interesting trivia). Its a thick book full of information yet also oddly misses some stuff out. The Italian Cup is said to be hated for example but the author does not even devote a paragraph to why this might be. Instead we have the same events and people mentioned over and over again with short recaps on the same events over and over again.

A good edit could have removed a third of the book and made it a much better read. Its still a good book and worth having but could have been so much better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book, very enjoyable and a keeper
Published 22 days ago by John Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for Italian football fans
A very thorough book, I wish I had read it while I was in Italy rather than after I'd left. I would recommend this to anyone interested in Italian football.
Published 1 month ago by Mark Storey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very Good
Published 6 months ago by t barrett
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I really enjoyed this book. It is quite an epic read. I first discovered Italian football around the time of the great Sacchi team of Van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard, Baresi, Maldini,... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Stephen Craik
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended!
Interested in Italian football? Give this one a read! Recommended!
Published 8 months ago by Magnus Nordman
5.0 out of 5 stars The good, the bad and the ugly of Italian Football
A good read for the football connoiseur giving a comprehensive history of the game in Italy from its inception in the late 1800's to date. Read more
Published 12 months ago by trigger
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellenti
Excellent in depth book about the history of Italian football, this has everything from the scandals, the violence, the rascism, the xenophobia and board room squabbles. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Benny
4.0 out of 5 stars happy with my purchase
I have only just started reading this book and I like what I see. Also the book arrived well on time and in a very good condition. Read more
Published 16 months ago by aldo ellul
4.0 out of 5 stars Good information
Not got round to reading all of the book, but I have read certain parts and found it interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history of Italian... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Barbara Barker
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
A fantastic book covering most of the turning points and major scandals of Italian football. Delivery was quick and it is definitely worth the money.
Published 23 months ago by Mr P Gallacher
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