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Football in Sun and Shadow: An Emotional History of World Cup Football [Hardcover]

Eduardo Galeano , Mark Fried
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Nov 1997

Football is, in Pele’s words, ‘the beautiful game’ . Eduardo Galeano has written a series of football epiphanies from the global history of football when the rays of light have glittered from the passion of the game.

As world music is to two-dimensional Stock, Aitken and Waterman pop so Eduardo Galeano’s football writing is to Motty’s commentary. Galeano searches out the mystical and the bewitched, the romance and the emotional destitution of the greatest game in the 20th-century world. It is a story of love and death: of the suicide of Abdon Porte who shot himself in the centre circle of the Nacional Stadium, of the phoenix-like Charlton spared from the Munich disaster to glory on the world stage. It is a story of muses and spells: of the Argentinian manager who wouldn’t feed his team chicken because it would bring bad luck, of the Russian goalkeeper who prepared his mind and his nerves with a cigarette and a dash of spirits before each game. This is the glory of football in all its vivid international hues, with its multilingual cries of despair, victory and sheer passion. This is Viva Pitch!

Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; First Edition edition (6 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857027884
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857027884
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 838,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘A global history with the poetic flair of a Pele free kick.’ The Face

‘Galeano can run rings round our own glamorous football intelligentsia.’ When Saturday Comes

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

'An emotional history of world cup football'

'Uplifting, reckless, ironic, impassioned – his book sparkles with supple imagery and a fine dry wit.'
Pete Davies, 'Independent'

To the true football fan even winning and losing comes second to those moments of pure footballing perfection: an acrobatic bicycle kick; an audacious piece of ball juggling; a dummy; a back heel; a flying header. Here is a parade of the world's greatest footballers from Beckenbauer to Yashin, Charlton to Zico, Cruyff to Pele with their inspired, almost baletic skill.

Here too is the tragic Escobar, guilty of an own goal for Columbia and gunned down in the streets of Medellin as a consequence; the English captain Neville who led a First World War charge on a trench by kicking a football across no-man's land; and the 1942 Dynamo Kiev team who couldn't resist beating their oppressors, the Nazis, and were then shot in their shirts after the 'game'.

'This is the world's greatest game in all its colour'

'Galeano can run rings round our glamorous football intelligentsia.'
'When Saturday Comes'

'Galeano has a style of a great left half. He constantly switches the direction of play. His observations are acute. He delivers with an air of insouciance which cannot mask his mastery'

'Sport's answer to 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'. A journey through a universe populated by the fantastic and the eccentric, reality turned magical.'
'Financial Times'

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must football bible. 27 Jan 2005
It's not just the wonderfully interwoven snippets of world history that keep the reader glued to this book, or even the graceful, poignant, and musical prose that mesmerizes and transports you into the fascinating world of Galeano's view of football, it's more the sheer beauty of the facts, the myths, and the rich, short summaries of legends and moments in world football that make this book a must for any lover of sport, and literature.
There's just about everyone in here (from the origins of the game to the mid nineties), organised chronologically in short chapters which are more like articles really. Some are half a page long such as "Greaves" ("...rather than run, he would explode..."), or two to three pages long like "Maradona" ("He played, he won, he peed, he lost.").
The brief stories presented here make this book a perfect read at any time: queues, buses, bed, and naturally, the loo!
I haven't seen the latest version and don't know if it includes contemporary football (after 1995), however, the book is brilliant for what it is (and for what was).
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This is a splendid read. A brief history of football written by an acclaimed author who loves his sport. This book is made up of short sketches that chart football's major moments since its origins. Especially effective are the essays on the World Cup competitions since 1930, which allude to the world's events in other spheres besides sport. This helps place the game into an economic and political perspective with a delightful Latin American slant. Lovers of the game of football support their teams, both local and national, but Galeano is searching for a "pretty move" or "good football" from any player or team that can provide it. Such moments may be few and far between, but they keep us hooked. Anybody remembering Michael Owens goal for England against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup will empathise with Galeano. A gem of a book in which Galeano uses his considerable writing skills to exhibit his passion for football. A must read for fans of the "beautiful game".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Football in Sun and Shadow 22 Jan 2006
By Lazmac
This is the most beaustiful book on the beautiful game I have ever read. It is wonderfully translated, making the description of the players sound almost poetic. It is also facinating to read about both club and international football from a south american perspective. I find my self continually re-reading the short stand alone chapters.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing..... 5 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought this would be a great addition to my growing library of football-related books. I was quite disappointed, however, by the style and content. It is not really a 'history' of World Cup football, but rather a collection of anecdotes and 'quirky' stories from each World Cup tournament.
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