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Calcio: A History of Italian Football [Paperback]

John Foot
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 April 2006

Calcio is John Foot’s love letter to Italian football and its absorbing history.

‘Calcio’ tells the story of Italian football from its origins in the 1890s 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 – the first written in English – 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.



Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (3 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007175744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007175741
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 601,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘“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, Soccerpile.com

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

Andrew Baker, Daily Telegraph

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stupendo! 10 April 2006
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book 6 Jun 2013
By Ross
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An insanely good read however, I noticed an error. Simone Perrotta and Geoff Hurst were born in Ashton-Under-Lyne, not Ashton-Under-Lyme. I was born in the same place as them two.

Nonetheless, fantastic book! Definitely would recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 19 Sep 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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1 of 1 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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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb insight into Italian football. 31 July 2006
Format:Paperback
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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4 of 5 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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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 14 May 2006
By Twazzer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellenti 26 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback
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.a fascinating read into the most popular sport in Italy and very amusing at times to
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but needs editing
This book is a good read but suffers from repetition and too many tangents into trivia (albeit often interesting trivia). Read more
Published 2 months ago by C. J. Davies
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 3 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 6 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 9 months ago by Mr P Gallacher
5.0 out of 5 stars Forza Azzuri
If you're a football fan of any description and this book isn't on your shelf then either drop a hint that you want this book as a gift or go out and buy it for yourself. Read more
Published 21 months ago by CorkRebel67
4.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, comprehensive history
This is a well researched history of Italian football. It gives the background and some understanding to the sometimes incomprehensible world that is Itlain football.
Published on 24 Aug 2011 by Aindrias Mc Cullagh
1.0 out of 5 stars Okay for British readers, not for others.
From my point of view, the problems with this book begin with its constant comparisons between British football, and its football culture, and Italian football and football... Read more
Published on 7 Nov 2010 by David
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight into Italian football
This is a thorough, fascinating and highly readable historical account of football in Italy, written by John Foot, a historian, writer and football fan. Read more
Published on 4 Oct 2010 by M. V. Clarke
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