Top positive review
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Appearance and reality: Brazilian football beyond the telly highlights.
on 16 July 2014
An interesting and sometimes passionate exposition of Brazilian football history, it's immense cultural impact, triumphs and disasters, artistry and brutality, team spirit and contrasting institutionalised venality. You need to keep the bright memories of the game in your mind as this compelling read takes you deep into the mire, a depressing pageant of shameless corruption, racism, social prejudice and normalised violence, on and off the pitch. There is also the occasional star turn - Pelé (obviously) and Garrincha, together comprising a kind of duality of brasilidade. Some colour photos, maybe some star biographies in an appendix, would have greatly enhanced the experience, but perhaps would also distract estrangeiros from how appalling the situation is, on the ground, In Brazilian society and, perhaps perversely, how things like social hardship and discrimination created an environment where futebol attained an artistry nothing short of grace.
Worth re-reading. Let's hope the game becomes beautiful again and serves as a model for how the rich and powerful might conduct themselves in their own spheres of influence.