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Football Dynamo: Modern Russia and the People's Game [Paperback]

Marc Bennetts
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: £11.99
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Book Description

15 May 2008

The birthplace of Tolstoy, Lenin and Lev Yashin, notorious for corruption and political intrigues, modern Russia remains an enigma, seeking to throw off its past and realize its true potential. As the country reinvents itself in the post-Soviet era, isolated by language and culture, politics and geography, an absorbing insight into this most extraordinary of nations can be found in the dramatic story of the decline and rise of Russia's football.

In Football Dynamo, Marc Bennetts embarks on a quest to find the football managers, oligarchs, players, pundits and fans that define the Russian Premier league, the fastest-growing and most extreme football league in the world. Unwittingly uncovering shocking revelations about racism and hooliganism, but also the true beauty of the game and the nation, Bennetts skilfully decodes the chaos of modern Russia as reflected in its football.

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Football Dynamo: Modern Russia and the People's Game + Behind the Curtain: Football in Eastern Europe: Travels in Eastern European Football + Calcio: A History of Italian Football
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (15 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753513196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753513194
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 882,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"One of the best books about football in a foreign land you will ever come across" (Andrew Baker Daily Telegraph)

"Bennetts has produced an engrossing, authoritative account of the game in his adopted country as it makes a growing mark in Europe" (Independent)

"This book is as strange as Russian football itself...a curious and fascinating read" (BBC Russia)

"An enthralling insight into a rejuvenated football nation" (When Saturday Comes)

"An authoritative and adventurous examination of Russian football" (The Herald)

Book Description


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars has the lot... 15 Sep 2008
By godzilla78 VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not only does the book cover the basics of Russia's new found status as a world force, it explains the political and social contexts of Russian football. The author uses his 10+ years of knowledge in the country to give a run down of all the leading clubs, memorable events and corruption. There are basic histories concerning all the major clubs in Moscow etc and the accusations thrown about of match fixing, corruption, racism and hooliganism. Along with "Behind the iron curtain..." this book is essential reading for those wanting to know more about Russian football.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great 23 Sep 2008
Football Dynamo gives Russia the treatment that various writers have given various countries, from David Winner's journey through Dutch football (Brilliant Orange) to Alex Belios's Futebol on Brazil. Writer Bennett holds his own in such exhalted company, but only just. There is obviously many a fascinating story to tell, but the overall effect isn't quite as entertaining as some of its predecessors, particularly Brilliant Orange. This may be because Bennett falls into the trap of being too close to his subject. His love of all things Russian means that even when he's being critical of the corrupt, turbulent way football is run in his adopted country, it can often be like a father scalding a child rather than a juicy exposé of the more seemly members of Russia's football hierarchy.

That said, there is still more than enough in here to keep the average football fan engaged. Russian football is on the up, and anyone wishing to know their Spartaks from their Dynamos could do worse to start with this book. While you don't come away feeling that you understand the ins and outs of one of the most complicated countries in the world, you're bound to know a damn sight more than when you started, and Bennett's style of writing means that the book crackles along at a decent pace. There are probably bigger and better stories lurking behind the Iron Curtain, but for now Dynamo Football will so nicely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spacibo..... 4 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having long since had an interest in Russia, its people and its culture, I instantly bought this book when I saw it was available.

Soviet football had always fascinated me as a nipper. Teams with huge sounding names, such as Spartak Moscow, Dinamo Moscow, Zenit Leningrad, had made Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United all sound minimal in comparison. Bennetts's book covers the history of these teams plus the post-soviet evolution experienced by Russian football in general.

Bennetts covers the whole aspect of Russian football, from the crumbling stadia, the rampant corruption and its political impact to the resurgence of the national squad in recent years. He also enlightens the reader to Russian culture and its increased expression through the growth of football and the people's categorical faith that it all can and will (and has) gone pear shaped.

But what I found really enjoyable was the conversations with Russian footballers, past and present. Quality players who were, are and had been disillusioned with the sport and how normal they all come across as being. I found this particularly strange given the conditions in which they had to play, politically, physically and environmentally.

Very good read, even for those who have no particular interest in footy. Bennetts treats you to the wonder that is the Russian psyche.....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By M. V. Clarke VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a great book for football fans interested in the game as a worldwide phenomenon. Bennetts presents a complex picture of modern Russian football, dealing exclusively with the post-USSR period. He gives insights into some of the big Moscow clubs, provincial sides from the extremes of this vast country, and also examines the fortunes of the national side. Many interesting themes emerge, such as the extent of corruption, the influence of Moscow and the political classes, the legacy of the Soviet era, and, more generally, Russian cultural attitudes. It's well written, with easy humour and a genuine attachment to his subject. Particularly interesting was the discussion of foreign players and managers, especially Guus Hiddink, and the difficulties Russian football has had on the broader European and world stage in recent times. Thoughtful and illuminating.
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