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Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life Paperback – 2 Jun 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (2 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747561796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747561798
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 299,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Futebol is sub-titled "The Brazilian Way of Life", and if any sport can truly be deemed to be such a thing for any country on the planet, then surely the sport must be football, and the country Brazil. Alex Bellos's study of football in Brazil, its history, its players, supporters and legends, works from the standpoint that Brazilian football is one the modern wonders of the world, "the beautiful game" being an art form in itself and a universally recognised trademark and brand. From such a view, he is able to entertain the reader not only with stories about great players and matches well known by the followers of world football, but also about the unique position of the game in the world's fifth largest country. Thus featured here are not only tales of Garrincha, Socrates and Ronaldo, of Flamengo and Fluminense, but also of football amongst the Indians of the Amazon, Brazilian footballers in the Faroe Islands and the story of the design (and designer) of the famous golden yellow Brazilian shirt, perhaps the most instantly recognisable icon in football anywhere. Where other books investigating the footballing culture of one country might have a more straightforward story to tell, Bellos uses this more eclectic approach. While the subjects of his observations are linked by the common threads of football and Brazil, he still captures magnificently the beauty, passion and the occasional absurdity of the world game in the world's number one footballing nation. --Trevor Crowe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'A captivating page-turner ... it brims with beguiling discoveries' -- Daily Telegraph

'Affectionate and shrewd ... full of intriguing sidelights on Brazilian popular culture; its hedonism, piety and wondrous absurdity' -- Guardian

'Fascinating ... perceptive ... evocative ... vivid, remarkable' -- Sunday Times

'Hugely enjoyable account of a nation obsessed ... riveting stories behind the great players such as Pele, Garrincha and Ronaldo' -- The Times

'Magnificent ... Bellos has managed to perfectly capture the chaos and corruption and the romance and obsession' -- FourFourTwo

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 May 2002
Format: Paperback
Much more than just a book about Brazilian football, and much more interesting than a book just about Brazilian culture, this wide-ranging work takes the reader right into the heart of the spiritual homeland of what Pele may or may not have called 'the beautiful game'.
From the sweltering depths of the Amazon to the barren wastes of the Faeroe Islands, Bellos takes us on a voyage of discovery into the cultural significance of Brazil's most important gift to the rest of the world.
Want to know what made kicking a pig's bladder around the most appealing game for Brazil's poor huddled masses? You'll find the answer here. Puzzled by the connections between samba, candomble religion and Brazilian football? Look no further. Interested in whatever happened to auto-football/button football/futevolley? Bellos is your man.
Along the way, we discover a football tournament where beauty queens score as many points as the players themselves; meet the man who designed Brazil's iconic strip (and supports the team responsible for the national tragedy that led to its creation); and delve into the heart of darkness that characterises Brazilian football's current relationship with its paymasters.
As we all gear up for the moneyfest that will be the forthcoming World Cup in Japan and Korea, this book represents a valuable reminder of the deep humanity at the heart of our planet's most valuable sporting commodity.
Anyone who has ever marvelled at the perfection of Carlos Alberto's goal in the 1970 World Cup Final should read this book. Anyone who hasn't, should get themselves a tape of the game, then read this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an entertaining and well-researched book, although at over 400 pages it could do with a bit of editing. It's not so much a book about Brazilian football, but one about the Brazilian obsession with football. As such, it's more about Brazilian history, culture, society, politics and national identity, and the relationship of football with Brazil's other obsession - sex. This is not a book about the technicalities of football itself. Pelé, Garrincha, Tostão, Ronaldo, Rivelino, Zico, Carlos Alberto, Roberto Carlos and Romário all feature (though surprisingly not Rivaldo), with interesting insights and information presented (not always of a footballing nature). However, the real stars of the book are those eccentric characters who have extended Brazil's love of football to autoball (football involving cars!), button ball (table football), beach soccer and ball juggling (especially by women, including Ronaldo's wife). The names of Brazilian footballers are deciphered, emphasising the Brazilian preference for nicknames and the names of famous film stars and singers. Bellos discusses at some length the deep trough that Brazilian football sunk into after the defeat in the 1998 World Cup final, in particular the controversy around Ronaldo. The extent of corruption in Brazilian football that was uncovered at the time is also exposed. In a fascinating interview, Socrates explains his reasons for Brazil's failings in the couple of years before the 2002 World Cup. It's only a pity that the book was published before Brazil's subsequent success. Such a dramatic turnaround in fortunes, both for Brazil and Ronaldo, cried out for further explanation.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Graeme Parker on 16 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
Futebol is the Brazilian way life. Alex Bellos' description of how a simple game has changed the face of this vast country is both fascinating and hugely entertaining. From the introduction of the game to Brazil by Charles Miller in 1894 to the corruption and greed of the Brazilian Football Confederation before the last world cup, it's all here.
Funny stories of Brazilians in far flung outposts such as the Faroe Islands, superstitions and spells, help the reader to understand not only Football in Brazil but the bigger picture of the struggling economy and colourful culture. This book is an education, and if you've never been to Brazil you'll certainly be inspired to travel there!
As with all good books the final chapter is simply the best. Alex Bellos describes his interview in a Sao Paulo bar with Socrates or now Dr Socrates. And yes he is named after the original, and has is own political and philosophical views, much beyond the simple game of Futebol.
Not a book for the statistician or those looking for details of games, but a thoroughly enjoyable read even for non football fans.
Graeme Parker
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Fat-Old-Sun on 23 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is quite simply one of the best football books you'll ever read.

Rather than a dry history of the game in Brazil, Bellos has attempted (and very much succeeded) to put across exactly why the country and its population is so obsessed with the beautiful game. If you're looking for Charles Miller and the growth of football in the country then look elsewhere. If you want an interesting and highly entertaining look at how football impacts every part of Brazilian life and culture then this is it.

You will find this hard to put down and out of the vast numbers of football books I've read this is up there with the very best. It's a gem.
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