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Tor!: The Story of German Football Paperback – 15 Jul 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: WSC Books Limited (15 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095401345X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954013455
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 370,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Tor! The Story of German Football does exactly "what it says on the tin". As the author explains, his aim was to write an entertaining history of the German game. He has certainly achieved his goal, or "tor" as they would say in Germany. Hesse-Lichtenberger sets out to prove that football in Germany is not necessarily the efficient, predictable machine that those of us believing in the German stereotype might think. Again, he succeeds. From the foundation of the game to the present day (and dare I mention the historic 5-1 defeat at the hands of the English in Munich in September 2001), the narrative finds plenty of room to include the quirky, amusing and unexpected. The seemingly curious names of many German club sides are dissected, while the fact that the national side managed to win the 1954 World Cup before the advent of the first professional national league only serves to amaze. The author proclaims his belief that it is people who shape events, and misses no opportunity to investigate the diverse personalities who have made the German game what it is, from the obsession of Herberger to the maverick brilliance of Netzer. The upshot is a wonderfully colourful history, and one that will no doubt surprise even most the avid of Europhile football followers. The latest in the line of recent books in English on European football, Tor!, like a number of German teams of the past, is a clear winner. --Trevor Crowe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


A model of how history should be written. -- Four Four Two

Beautifully crafted... demolishes myths with the cold-blooded efficiency of a literary Gerd Muller -- Times

Very good... Tor! reveals that German football is more prone to self-doubt than self-promotion. -- Observer

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend. This was an excellent decision. Cheers Stumpy...
This history of football in Germany is well written, funny and tragic. There were so many things that I learnt from this. From the way teams were named and originated to stories that just make you laugh out loud and others that reduce you to tears.
As an example there is the story of a player signed by a team who said "They wanted to give me a third of the gate receipts. I told them No Way. I won't accept less than a quarter."
To think that the Germans had no professionalism or national league until 1963. The way that the national federation controlled the game and looked on professionalism as a disease to be fought off is unbelievable to us.
This book proves that there is more to German football than Bayern Munich. It shows how team rose and fell and how the game developed from an "unpatriotic" and "foreign" one into a world beater. This teaches us about the German people and their view of us and other countries.
They are bemused at our image of them and do not understand our rivalry and obession with the War that pervades the meetings between our countries.
I highly recommend this to every who wants to gain an insight into the history and development of the game in Germany.
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Format: Paperback
I couldn't believe how good this book was. It tells you everything you ever wanted to know about German football. It's origins, how it progressed, developed into the Bundesliga.
It's written in such an entertaining style and is so informative. There are loads of stories, from the stories behind team names such as Energie Cottbus and Carl Zeiss Jena, to detailed looks at significant figures in German football history from Franz Beckenbauer to Lothar Matthaus, from Gerd Muller to Rudi Voller. Then there are the tales of German football during the Nazi Era, from players who went missing and those whose fate was all to obvious.
There is a detailed account of football from the old East Germany. It is divided into a different section, as it should be, from the West German football league. Then came reunification and the players who found bigger fame once they moved to the West from the East, Jens Jeremies and Sebastian Deisler being two such players.
This is not just a straight, German football history book. It's too well written for that. It is one of the best football books I've read and I've read many. There are many lighter moments in here too, you will be laughing out loud to. Sehr gut und Einfach klasse!
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By A. Betts VINE VOICE on 30 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
I read this cover to cover in about a week, and enjoyed every word - this has got to be one of my favourite football books ever. So much so that I now see Rudi Voller in a completely different light, Lothar Matthaus in exactly the same light and now (this is the most bizarre bit) feel sorry for Oliver Kahn after his 'mare in the 2002 World Cup Final.

The shambles that was German national football, incredible as it seems, is explained in full as is football's position within the Nazi regime.

If you have any interest in football, or Germany, buy this book, it's fantastic. Perhaps if you're one of the 'no surrender' brigade, don't bother but get your kids to read it as they'll grow better for it!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to German soccer. Obviously written with an English audience in mind, it nevertheless makes compelling reading. The writer is a German writing in English and occasionally it shows, but this only adds to the charm and remarkable even-handedness of the piece.
There is much here that I am sure is new to English audiences. I found the chapter about the 1954 world cup victory ('the miracle of berne') and Herbert Zimmermann's commentary of the final remarkably moving (especially when the received wisdom is the mighty magyars were cruelly robbed in that final). Also revealing is that Rudi Voeller is a thoroughly good bloke (when we all think of him as just a bloke with a typically naff German moustache and haircut) and that Franz Beckenbauer's personal behaviour hasn't always been as impressive as his achievements in the game. The author seems keen to dispel the myth of German efficiency and thoroughness, which is refreshing , but it doesn't quite come off because time and again we see Germans achieving heights (in spite of themselves) that the English just haven't got close to.
Just a couple of odd notes struck this reader and both relate to the war (sorry to say). The first is this line 'On April 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler shot himself. The day before Hamburg had beaten Altona 4-2 in the last official match played during wartime.' Now call me a pointy head, but the fall of Berlin (in which more Russians and Germans died over two months than the USA lost in the whole war) is a rather odd juxtaposition for such a meaningless match.
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Format: Paperback
First off, you need to be into football in a pretty big way to take in the content of this book. Also the author is German himself, so sometimes makes reference to things I did not totally understand - although his English is first-rate.
As you continue through this feast of information and stories about great German teams (international and club) and anecdotes concerning noted figures and important events in football's hundred-year history in Germany, a clear picture is built up about the neuroses, cheating, rivalries, politics, egos and the contrasting fortunes which has led the game to evolve into what we see today.
The author often tries to explain away some prejudices about Germans which foreigners perceive, and gives good arguments for his defence, but also deliberately and justifiably rubbishes other aspects of the German psyche and footballing habits which would often not be observed easily by outsiders.
I would particularly recommend this book to English readers. Scots are fairly indifferent to Germany in a footballing sense ("Yay, they beat England again!") so I think it might be an even more enjoyable read for and England fan who wants to know their enemy or, dare I say it, gain a fresh perspective on a superior footballing power?
The book is fair, honest, enjoyable, informative and well-written. If you like Germany or football you should buy it.
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