This book provides a great overview of the history of the club, its stars, the machinations of its ruling junta, and the passion of the cules, all against the backdrop of Catalonia's political struggle for identity and independence within Spain. Burns provides some nice historical details and great anecdotes, but, as is to be expected considering the hundred year focus of the book and the complexity of 20th century Spain, necessarily deals with some of the political history in a less comprehensive manner.
Although it at times extremely well-written, the book could have done with tighter editing (hence, 4 stars). Burns repeats his descriptions of individuals and events in subsequent pages and at time his prose is florid and unfocused. Pretty minor complaints, however. Although not uncritical, Burns clearly appreciates what Barca have achieved. He also questions how the club will adjust, or might be changed, in the new century. Overall, the book is an excellent read, and continually succeeds in portraying the people involved as just that, people with passions and short-comings. At the end, you understand why the club embodies true football, why it inspires such passion, and why it's such an important part of Catalonia. Forca Barca!