Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Review: How Soccer Explains the World

How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer

In How Soccer Explains the World the author uses a variety of situations around the organization of soccer clubs to show how the world is still organized by tribes. I would go more into the sociology aspect of the book, but to be honest I don't really care. If you want a book about the sociology of soccer this might be a place to start, but I'm sure you could find better. As a book about interesting stories around soccer its great. The subject matter ranges from Serbian supporters groups that became the special army of Serbia's dictators during the war through Pele's movement in and out of Brazilian politics. In between the history of the Rangers-Celtic rivalry is detailed and attempts by women to be fans of Iranian teams are covered. Its written in a way that makes it very easy to pick up and become enthralled in whatever subject the author is covering and avoids reading like a sociological thesis. I'd recommend this book to anyone who's interested in soccer outside the lines. There's very little talk of the game as played, but if you want to see the in's and outs of the way, for example, the Milan clubs are run along side the government, this is your book.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Jason, this is indeed a great read. I have my own copy signed by the author. I agree it is a bit light on the academic side - it's a bit of a stretch to even suggest this is some kind of academic exercise. However, it is very well written and extremely interesting and a must read. I would put it close up to but not beating the best book ever written on football stories around the world, Simon Kuper's "Football Against The Enemy." Thanks for the review.