Posts from ‘January, 2013’

Best Soccer Books (4)

La RojaSo many books, so much to choose from, etc. (Hopefully, too, somebody, somewhere, has my book The World is a Ball on a Best Soccer Books list.) Number four.

La Roja: How Soccer Conquered Spain and How Spanish Soccer Conquered the World (Nation Books) by Jimmy Burns.
Jimmy Burns, a man whose family played a role in Spain’s bitter history in the 20th cenutry, is always good on the Spanish game. Here, in a scholarly book that begins with the arrival of football – in the mines of Andalusia, near Seville and hard by the Portuguese border – he traces the often dark ebbs and flows of the game that Spain made its own… Continue reading

Best Soccer Books (3)

This Love is Not for CowardsThis Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez (Bloomsbury), by Robert Andrew Powell.

I first came across Robert Andrew Powell’s beautiful book through an interview Carol Off did with the author on CBC Radio’s As It Happens. The Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez, just across the border from the U.S. has been brutalized by the drug wars there. Murder after murder, day after day. Powell spent a year there, tracking the ups and downs of the Indios the local soccer team, one that exists with profound meaning in the city’s agony. Wonderfully told, his story has the sort of observation and anecdote that explains so very much… Continue reading

Best Soccer Books (2)

Finding the GameSo many books, so much to choose from. Etc.

Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer (St. Martin’s Press) by Gwendolyn Oxenham. Much more than a companion to the great documentary Pelada, which Oxenham made with partner Luke Boughen, this account of the journey around the world to play pick-up soccer and make Pelada, is a fabulous read. Hey eye for the telling detail is magnificent and there are scenes in Brazil and in Palestine that are unforgettable. A stand-out too is her description of playing inside a jail in Bolivia. All the detail comes together in what is an exceptional celebration of football’s allure and meaning… Continue reading

Best Soccer Books (1)

El ClasicoSo many books, so much to choose from. Didn’t read everything in 2012 and best-of lists are things of wispy substance, but here’s four great soccer books. (Hopefully, too, somebody, somewhere, has my book The World is a Ball on a Best Soccer Books list.)

El Clasico: Barcelona v Real Madrid: Football’s Greatest Rivalry (Bloomsbury) by Richard Fitzpatrick. This is a truly fine, informative, lively and well-written book. Fitzpatrick takes the time to explain the context of the Madrid/Barca rivalry in terms of history and politics but doesn’t merely set down the old stories and convenient mythology. In some instances he demolishes cliche. He’s very good on the financial aspects, especially Barcelona’s wealth, which… Continue reading

Death & chaos in Egypt

“The government appeared to have lost control of Port Said, a major city, after a court sentenced 21 soccer fans to death and their supporters poured into the streets.”

Analysis of the reasons for the deadly soccer riot last year that begat this chaos.

In a way, Egypt is the soccer world in microcosm – place where soccer clubs essentially replaced political parties during years of political repression. The clubs became stand-ins for movements and instruments for expressing beliefs and attitudes… Continue reading