Brian Glanville is a legend among football journalists, having started soon after WW2 and spent several years in Italy, developing an expert knowledge of the game in that country, before resuming his career in the UK. Glanville's style is eloquent and often entertaining, even gripping, though he has an irritating habit of sounding condescending and critical about almost everyone in the world game. The best chapters in the book relate to the earlier competitions, where Glanville's knowledge is arguably second to none, given the length of his career. Unfortunately in the world cups of the 1980s to the present day Glanville loses his touch and spends most of his time attacking FIFA for changing the format of the competition and lamenting the days when the game was simpler and less political. There is a certain degree of nostalgic naivety in this view, which, though initially endearing, is ultimately irritating because its ingrained negativity. And indeed, it is this feeling of pessimism that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, irrespective of the merits of Glanville's arguments, because the reader isn't left feeling very satisfied after reading the book. Notwithstanding this, the book is well researched, with the odd error here and there, but good to read and with plenty of detail to satisfy most enthusiasts. It will be interesting to compare this book with the new Mammoth Book of the World Cup.