9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Best possible World Cup reading material,
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This review is from: The Anatomy of England: A History in Ten Matches (Hardcover)
Jonathan Wilson's brilliantly entertaining book takes England's history as an international football team right back to the beginning - a game against Scotland in Partick, 1872 - and tells the story of how England became the vehicle for all our hopes and sorrows in international competition. You thought that it was a modern phenomenon for the England team to be criticised for being too much about individuals, not playing enough together, and not understanding the free-flowing continental passing game...? Think again...
The book particularly focuses on ten specific matches, beginning with England's first international defeat, against Spain in 1929. This structure really gives a focus to the material and lets you get your head round the details of each era of England players. The first two matches are known only from newspaper reports, but the last eight Wilson has watched over and over on DVD and his knowledge of the games really comes across well.
Wilson explains with great analytical force the technicalities of games and tactics, making you feel smarter than when you started reading, like a good science writer. But at the same time he has a wonderful eye for the telling detail, evoking longdead personalities; and a great dry sense of humour. I honestly can't recommend this book enough, masterful AND entertaining - how often does that happen? The PERFECT read while waiting impatiently for yet more World Cup highs and lows.