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Football Against the Enemy Paperback – 15 Dec 1994


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Product details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Orion mass market paperback; New edition edition (15 Dec. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752800442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752800448
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,526,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The classic winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Simon Kuper is an author and journalist. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DcLonChi on 5 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
First, this is a groundbreaking work. Before it, literary football books came by once a decade or so. Now, there's a new "quality" title out every week.

Second, it's still a cracking read. Some of the foreign places aren't quite so foreign anymore, but that's down to the internet and how the world's changed. The introduction where Kuper talks about staying in youth hostels and how hard travelling is seems as quaint and old fashioned as black and white television.

Finally, his main point -- that football creates national culture, as much as national cultures create football -- is still every bit as difficult and thought provoking as it was 15 years ago.

One of my all time desert island books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By tjensen@dmfirm.com on 12 Oct. 1999
Format: Paperback
Simon Kuper's work shows exactly how football can penetrate any aspect of day to day life in the most unsuspecting and subtle ways. Not just a football book, Simon Kuper illustrates how only one medium in the world could encompass such a wide range of seemingly divergent subjects. From gulags in Russia to Apartheid in South Africa, military corruption in Argentina, religious conflict in Scotland...the list goes on. In chapter after chapter the author makes his point that the world would not be the same place without the boundless reach of the influence of football. Mr. Kuper deftly tells stories of his travels and makes his point as neatly with his pen as a player like Pele did with his feet on the football pitch. This book belongs on the reading list of college political science courses and should be required reading for any American yet convinced that there is no force in the world like the sport of real football, of soccer.
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Format: Paperback
When is football more than just a game? When it’s against a rival so bitter, that emotions take things to another level altogether. That’s the premise behind this wonderful book, which isn’t solely a football book, but a social and political study with football as its recurring theme. This made it truly ground breaking in that such “intelligent” football writing was rather rarer when this first came out in 1994 than it is today. Some elements now seem slightly dated, but for a reader willing to give it some historical context this is still a compelling book.<!--more-->

The main theme is that cultures and nations use football to reflect their national identity and self-image. Kuper looks at several examples from across the globe to illustrate his point. Notably he focuses on the Dutch and their rivalry with Germany; something that he, writing as someone who lived in Holland for years, states just didn’t exist in the same way pre the 1988 European Championship semi finals. It was an almost invented rivalry and justified with the understandable historical reasons, to stoke the feelings of a generation too young to have lived through the Nazi occupation. It became an event of national significance, which transcended mere sport.

There is also a look at the perception in Argentina of such underhand antics as Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal and the reasons for this, and sections on the development of national identities in an Eastern Europe that was freshly split from its Communist nation states; and the mention of one East German whose interest in western football clubs earned him a Stasi file and a secret police follower.
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Format: Paperback
It is every author's dream to write a book on contemporary affairs that will still have a sensation of freshness in twenty years' time. This task becomes even more challenging when the story is composed with evasive bits that can change their meaning and importance with one kick of the ball.

Or, perhaps, the role of football does not actually depend on one kick, whether shot into the roof of the net or wide into the row Z, and, instead, it is much deeper than that? Maybe football and its social legacy can defend itself regardless of an outcome of a 90-minutes match?

First published in 1994, Simon Kuper's "Football Against the Enemy" looks into the relations between the beautiful game, politics and culture shortly after the Cold War. The world was at its turning point - not to mention a widely acclaimed concept of the end of the history around that time. In dynamically shifting environments, Kuper recognised football as a point of reference. "It's just a game," some may say, but for the Dutch author it was also a means of understanding new cultures as well as comparing them with those more familiar to him.

Yet, despite being a fascinating read, it took me a good half a year to finish it. The reason? Extremely engaging chapters unfortunately lacked continuity between each other. No doubt, the theme is always there but not necessarily a story. It is by no means a criticism of the book but a common problem in some of Kuper's other writings - an issue that many broadsheet journalists-cum-writers suffer from.

It is rather hard to disagree with a statement: "If you like football - read it; if you don't like football - read it," as quoted from the Times' review on the front cover.
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