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4.3 out of 5 stars42
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 18 April 2012
Having grown up through the days of Rivera, Mazzola, Sivori, Charles when Italian football was the most important thing in everyone's life, this book gave me a very good background of the way the modern game has developed in Italy. Controversial in parts with its description of certain characters (Nereo Rocco for one), but accurately puts its finger on the reasons for calcio's decline over the years: betting scandals, corruption, doubts about results, endless court cases, violence in the grounds. And throughout all this the national side managed to win 2 World Cups since 1982!
The more recent times, with Maradona, Van Basten, Gullit, Baggio, Paolo Rossi, Baresi, Maldini and hundreds of world class players appearing in Serie A are well worth pondering over; back in the 1980-1990 all the best players in the world competed in what was then the best league in the world. A far cry from today's half-full arenas.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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on 18 March 2010
It took me a while to read the whole book; I found myself dipping in and out of it, and I guess that is the good and bad about it: you can read it and enjoy it but it ain't going to set your world alight in the way that Tardelli or Zola did. Foot clearly knows his stuff and has done his research and some of the book is very interesting, but a lot of it drags on rather, as if he is trying to fill a chapter/topic with yet another story when he probably didn't need to. It can be over-factual and encyclopaedic when I would have liked a bit more personal interest from him or the characters he details. But I do now know more about Italian football and I like it for that.
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on 10 April 2006
A great read for anyone interested in football, Italy or Italian football. The author takes us through the history, the scandals, the players, the teams and the mysteries which have surrounded the game in Italy. Funny, sad and powerful at the same time, it reads like a thriller whilst having a strong historical base in documents and research. Great Stuff! I learnt a lot despite being a fan of the game. Hilarious section on the English and Scottish players failures in Italy. Terrifying section on the fans.
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on 31 July 2006
To many people, Italian football is a mystery. On one hand, Italy has produced some of world football's best players and is home to the world's biggest clubs. The football is often beautiful and there is never a lack of passion. On the other it embraces the worst parts of the game with games often soiled with blatant cheating and racist fans.

Calcio does a very good job in attempting to shed light on the Italian mindset and the culture and society that spawned its approach to the beautiful game.

The author John Foot clearly has alot of love for the Italian game but that doesnt cloud his judgement of the dark side of the game. He is rightly outraged by the unchecked racism that has blighted the game since the 1990s. In fact the book really ecsells in the chapters on fan culture. He also delves into the scandals and murders that have occured within the game.

From the origins of Calcio through to the personalties who have shaped the game, such as Benito Mussolini and on to Silvio Berlusconi, Foot has created a detailed and enjoyaable account of Italian football. All the major players who have played the game including; Gianni Rivera, Giacinto Facchetti, Gigi Riva, Marco Van Bastin etc, are all examined.

This book is a superb journey into a football crazy nation highlighting some of the best and worst of Italian mentality. It is only a pity that this wasn't published until later so as to include the recent match fixing scandal, the largest in Italian history, and Italys triumph in the World Cup.
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on 19 September 2012
A great book that will entertain you with knowledge, little facts (do you know why Italy's away kit is white?) and above all an insight into Italian football and the personalities that have shaped it!
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on 14 May 2006
This massive work gives a sweeping survey of the history of Italian football. Brilliantly written, Calcio is full of great anecdotes and thought-provoking, intelligent analysis without going into unnecessary detail. Calcio touches on every aspect of football in Italy and particuarly shines in the tragic rise and fall of Torino and the Superga tragedy. A story which is important in the story of not onyl Italian football but also in world football but yet maybe not widley known in the UK.

Key players are also covered in Calcio with splashes of humour as well as an assessment of their place and impact in Italian football. The real value of Calcio is that it gives you an accessible introduction of the history of Italian football and that it encourages you to read more on particular aspects of this subject.

A great read!!
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on 22 January 2014
This book is a good read but suffers from repetition and too many tangents into trivia (albeit often interesting trivia). Its a thick book full of information yet also oddly misses some stuff out. The Italian Cup is said to be hated for example but the author does not even devote a paragraph to why this might be. Instead we have the same events and people mentioned over and over again with short recaps on the same events over and over again.

A good edit could have removed a third of the book and made it a much better read. Its still a good book and worth having but could have been so much better.
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on 13 April 2015
A very thorough book, I wish I had read it while I was in Italy rather than after I'd left. I would recommend this to anyone interested in Italian football.
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on 30 May 2014
A good read for the football connoiseur giving a comprehensive history of the game in Italy from its inception in the late 1800's to date. Enthusiastically written it covers all aspects from the great players and teams produced, the politics and fierce rivalries right down to racism and the effects of facism. It is a must for all soccer afficianados.
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on 10 October 2014
I really enjoyed this book. It is quite an epic read. I first discovered Italian football around the time of the great Sacchi team of Van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard, Baresi, Maldini, etc. Serie A used to be the best league around. Although it is now lagging behind England, Spain and Germany I still have great affection for calcio.
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