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Football Against The Enemy [Paperback]

Simon Kuper
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 6 2003
Throughout the world, football is a potent force in the lives of billions of people. Focusing national, political and cultural identities, football is the medium through which the world's hopes and fears, passions and hatreds are expressed. Simon Kuper travelled to 22 countries from South Africa to Italy, from Russia to the USA, to examine the way football has shaped them. At the same time he tried to find out what lies behind each nation's distinctive style of play, from the carefree self-expression of the Brazilians to the anxious calculation of the Italians. During his journeys he met an extraordinary range of players, politicians and - of course - the fans themselves, all of whom revealed in their different ways the unique place football has in the life of the planet.

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About the Author

Simon Kuper is the author of Football Against the Enemy and writes for the Observer and the Financial Times.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Kuper knows his stuff. Dec 4 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Apart from a very informal writing style and a few errors like calling 1994 Brazilian presidential candidate LULU instead of LULA (Lula btw is the next President of Brazil), this book is just a jewel.
He shows well how culture and society mingle with sport, in this case, soccer. He was spot on repeatedly, such as:
--Holland Vs. Germany rivalry. I've asked Dutchmen about whether those comments regarding the war are true and they said yes.
--Brazil vs. Argentina: he said an American journalist never saw home court advantage such as the rabid fans in the Nunez venue in the Brazil match. True again. When these two play in either country home court advantage blows away anything US sports fans are used to.
And on he goes. If you are a diehard soccer fan as I am, you will love this book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well In There! Oct. 15 2002
By A. Ross
Format:Paperback
Young journalist Kuper traveled around the world like a madman to gather the stories of soccer's relationship to politics and culture collected in the book's twenty chapters. The result is a book that will delight anyone with an interest in the world's most popular sport, and will intrigue those interested in the world beyond their boundaries. The book's sole flaw is a certain choppiness, which is partially due to the haphazard nature of his travels, and partly due to Kuper's perhaps overambitious goal of examining how soccer "affects the life of a country" and "how the life of a country affects its football." Concentrating on one or the other would have given the book the focus it lacks-but that doesn't detract from its power.
Kuper uses soccer as a lens to look at the most central issues of the modern world race (South Africa), religion (Ireland and Scotland), culture (Brazil), totalitarianism (Argentina & East Germany), corruption (Ukraine), poverty (Africa), and especially nationalism (Holland, Slovakia, Catalonia, Serbia). Even those who dismiss sport as an "opiate of the masses" and don't care for soccer will be forced to acknowledge the sport's popularity and centrality, especially in less-developed nations. Each chapter is a stand-alone piece, with lengths varying from 5-25 pages or so, perfect for reading on the bus or just before bed. The only other caveat on the book is that it does often seem rather dated, and one keeps wishing it was a bit fresher. Still, this is a great bit of journalism and one every soccer fan should read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well In There! Oct. 15 2002
By A. Ross
Format:Paperback
Young journalist Kuper travelled around the world like a madman to gather the stories of soccer's relationship to politics and culture collected in the book's twenty chapters. The result is a book that will delight anyone with an interest in the world's most popular sport, and will intrigue those interested in the world beyond their boundries. The book's sole flaw is a certain choppiness, which is partially due to the haphazard nature of his travels, and partly due to Kuper's perhaps overambitious goal of examining how soccer "affects the life of a country" and "how the life of a country affects its football." Concentrating on one or the other would have given the book the focus it lacks-but that doesn't detract from its power.
Kuper uses soccer as a lens to look at the most central issues of the modern world race (South Africa), religion (Ireland and Scotland), culture (Brazil), totalitarianism (Argentina & East Germany), corruption (Ukraine), poverty (Africa), and especially nationalism (Holland, Slovakia, Catalonia, Serbia).E ven those who dismiss sport as an "opiate of the massess" and don't care for soccer will be forced to acknowledge the sport's popularity and centrality, especially in less-developed nations. Each chapter is a stand-alone piece, with lengths varrying from 5-25 pages or so, perfect for reading on the bus or just before bed. The only other cavaet on the book is that it does often seem rather dated, and one keeps wishing it was a bit fresher. Still, this is a great bit of journalism and one every soccer fan should read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best football book written in the past 10 years April 23 2002
By Winston
Format:Paperback
This book is written in a style that will appeal to the lazy sunday reader in search for a funny read about football and politics, or the serious academic seeking answers to how a nation's culture manifests itself in the football style it adopts.
Kuper's book is simply outstanding. In it, we find out why the Dutch hate the Germans, the secret behind the success of Dynamo Kyev, and why anyone trying to map a post-war history of English culture must explain Gazza's tears. No serious football aficionado should be without this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad...if you believe anything Jan. 21 2001
Format:Paperback
Football against the Enemy is a very entertaining book, but you have to wonder about how much of it is true. Peru had witch doctors at the '82 world cup that predicted they would lose to Cameroon? One of the reasons that Peru lost to Argentina in the '78 world cup was they wore red uniforms? Argentinian players cheated on doping tests in the 78 world cup? Does he have any proof of this? Is there anybody out there who belives this?
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