Football Against the Enemy Paperback – 15 Dec 1994
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The classic winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Simon Kuper's first book, FOOTBALL AGAINST THE ENEMY, won the WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR in 1994, and went on to become an international bestseller. Born in Uganda in 1969, he spent most of his childhood in Holland. He is a sports columnist for the FINANCIAL TIMES. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It has clearly suffered from being written so long ago, as so many of the political circumstances described have changed hugely in the intervening years. Having read other reviews it's clear that, when it was first released, this was a pioneering attempt at examining the socio-political background of football.
Aside from the outdatedness, the writing style grates a little. So many passages begin with an 'exclusive interview' with a certain character. While it's impressive that the author has these connections, you begin to imagine that you are being told a story by the man in the local pub who claims he's friends with everyone 'off the telly.' As such, the regular "XXXX told me in the strictest confidence that..."-style passages become irritating. Conceited is perhaps the wrong word, but it's certainly getting that way.
Ultimately though, anyone with an interest in international football (club or country) will be able to appreciate and enjoy this book. If you find yourself lagging after the first chapter - stick with it, it gets better.
I feel I have to disagree with The Times's purportion that 'If you like football read it. If you don't like football read it.' Pay no attention to the latter - for the uninformed this book is only mildly interesting. However, I was compelled at times to read excerpts to my girlfriend, who may or may not have been interested, and a prime example of this is found on page 72, where the author quotes Luther Blissett (while at AC Milan) as having remarked; "No matter how much money you have got, you can't seem to get any Rice Crispies."
The confusion in the book is due to Kuper's vague initial aim, which is two-fold: (1) to discuss the relationship between politics and football around the world and (2) various cultural habits that suggest the ways different styles have come about. Perhaps he should have concentrated on the cultural explanations of style, as it becomes a little repetitive when we hear of presidents and leaders taking charge of their national team. Having said that the chapter, Argentina, campeon!, which discusses the corruption during the 1978 World Cup, is mindblowing. However, Kuper's argument in 'Gazza and the fall of Margaret Thatcher', where the author tries deperately hard to convince the reader of some weak comparisons between Gazza and John Major, fails miserably but is nonetheless very entertaining.
The book's high-points are the chapters on Brazil and Cameroon. Kuper paints a rather amusing portrait of Roger Milla...Read more ›
But I found with different ways. With different country's. Like Cameroon. I didn't know about their Anglo & French cultures. So many different cultures around the world.
Second, it's still a cracking read. Some of the foreign places aren't quite so foreign anymore, but that's down to the internet and how the world's changed. The introduction where Kuper talks about staying in youth hostels and how hard travelling is seems as quaint and old fashioned as black and white television.
Finally, his main point -- that football creates national culture, as much as national cultures create football -- is still every bit as difficult and thought provoking as it was 15 years ago.
One of my all time desert island books.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
if you want to know why people kill each other then this is a good start to tribalism.Published 8 months ago by chris
When it was published, Football Against the Enemy was one of the first serious studies on football and its wider place in society. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Sport Nut
Originally read this about 7 or 8 years ago, and ordered it to pass around friends that I've told about itPublished on 8 April 2014 by SharkeySure
Brought to book for a weekend away in Budapest. What a read. Clearly of its time, written in the early 90s with appropriate references, this book represents a fixed point in... Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2014 by tdogzzzz