In this superb, breathtaking and wonderful tour de force of a book, David Goldblatte describes the rise of soccer, from a chaotic, homosexual-tinged fest or folk ritual to its present incarnation as a macho global-entertainment industry. It's the story of players and managers, fans and owners, clubs and national teams; a chronicle of who won and who lost. So what you might say,we know all this. We do, but not told as Mr Goldblatt does. I take my hat off to him. He is no writer and instead assembles his facts, like a well trained archer. It's a book about money and power and the allure of men in shorts. And, above all, how all these men interact. It is a history which attempts to locate where the line between the realm of glorious lust and the realm of power has been crossed, that celebrates the love of the game and of players for each other. Shame on all those who condemn this. Thus the book describes and accounts for the careers of Pele and Maradona, Puskas and George Best; the histories of the Wunderteam and the incomparable Hungarians, the anti-futbol of Estudiantes de la Plata and the futbol arte of Brazil 1970. It explores the cultural meanings and political uses of football in Peron's Argentina, Adenauer's West Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union and Mussolini's Italy. It ranges from the precolonial politics of African football and its anti-gay platform - which Mr Goldblatt deplores - to the manufacturing history of the football boot; from the history of stadium architecture to the architecture of power in global football's leading institutions. It has everything. Buy it and be thankful. I am so glad I got hold of an early copy.