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How Football Explains The World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization Paperback – 2 Mar 2006


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How Football Explains The World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization + Football Against The Enemy + Soccernomics
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (2 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099492261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099492269
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 371,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'Funny, sharp, waspish, alert and reflective.'" (Independent)

"Significantly entertaining if you like soccer, and entertainingly significant if you do not." (Adam Gopnik)

"'He engages each city and team with the spirit of a true fan, and he emerges with impressions so vivid they feel like they've been whispered into your ear over a nice pint of lager... This superbly written and elegantly reported book.'" (Chicago Tribune)

"'An excellent reporter... An eccentric, fascinating exposé of a world... The book starts off like a house on fire.'" (New York Times)

Book Description

An original and insightful investigation of the role of football in today's world - around the world. Serious football writing at its best, in the tradition of Simon Kuper's Football Against The Enemy.

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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 17 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
This review refers to the US version of the book, which I presume is virtually the same, save for a minor change to the title.
The first thing to be said is that the title is rather misleading. Foer doesn't really exlpain quite how "football explains the world" - which is understandable was such a grandiose claim seems a little overblown. The blurb of the book also refers to globalisation and its effects on football, an issue that Foer sometimes loses track of. The chapter titles are also rather tiring, each begins, 'How Football Explains...' (eg, "How Football Explains Islam's Hope"). However, that said the book is well worth reading. The chapter on Serbian fans is particularly informing, showing just how the conflicts in the region express themselves and even had their roots in football and the fans of teams such as Red Star. The Nigeria-Ukrian connect is also good, showing how trends and fashions in football are quickly made and then jumped on by other clubs.
Foer's major argument - that globalisation has eliminated neither local cultural identities nor violent hatred among fans of rival teams - is clearly explained, though most football fans could have told you the same thing.
How Football Explains the World is very similar to (some might say derivitive of)Simon Kuper's superb 'Football Against the Enemy'. If you haven't read 'Football Against the Enemy' then read it before you buy this, it is the better book, and it did what Foer has done more than a decade before him. Still, Foer's book is worth picking up, sort of as a companion piece to Kuper's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Smith on 12 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
I may not agree with all of the author's conclusions but he should be congratulated for tackling such an ambitious project. The book is a welcome alternative to those of us who love football but dont want to read hoolifan biogs, partisan club volumes, or another Fever Pitch impersonator.

The chapters dealing with Serb hooligans and the Balkan wars (what about the Croats?), the Jewish question, and Iran are especially good and provided information that was new to even this football-obsessed reader. The chapter on Italy is excellent and expertly anticipates the match-fixing scandal of Summer 2006.

Well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
Having grown up in the United States, I was poorly equipped to handle the football culture I encountered when moving to Europe a few years ago. Aside from not having a strong grasp on the sport's rules (I grew up playing baseball), I had zero understanding of the history and dynamics of specific clubs and of their importance to different cities and countries. While I have finally been able to learn the rules of the game thanks to the kids in my neighborhood, I owe this book much thanks for helping me better comprehend the bigger meaning of the sport. At a minimum, when I travel I at least know what clubs I should be supporting.

I would recommend this book for anyone, like me, who is clueless about the non-athletic aspects of the sport. It definitely gave me a greater appreciation for football while teaching me a bit of history at the same time.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Willy Pilgrim on 1 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
For me this book seemed like a shallow copy of the now classic "Soccer Against the Enemy". It's not a very interesting read, the writer has chosen a few hot potato topics, like; racism & sectarianism, which he uses a basis for his own half baked theories about globalization.

The last drop is Franklin Foer's blatant way of taking sides, from what he suggests, a naive reader with no previous knowledge might actually think that the sectarianism involved in the Old Firm (Glasgow Rangers vs. Glasgow Celtic) is purely a case of Protestant majority abusing the Catholic minority, who have never set a foot wrong. Further on in the course of the book, Foer goes onto label many famous football teams as racist clubs. What ever happened to objectivity, the most important guide line of every journalist?

Foer, armed with the general knowledge of your average North American football (sorry dude, I mean soccer) fan, comes across as someone who should still need to take lessons about the sport and not give them.
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Format: Paperback
I was hoping for a book that could add to the classic Simon Kuper work, but was sadly disappointed. Shame, as the American view of soccer is often more global and nuanced than you would expect.
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