Futebol Hardcover – May 2002
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Futebol is sub-titled "The Brazilian Way of Life", and if any sport can truly be deemed to be such a thing for any country on the planet, then surely the sport must be football, and the country Brazil. Alex Bellos's study of football in Brazil, its history, its players, supporters and legends, works from the standpoint that Brazilian football is one the modern wonders of the world, "the beautiful game" being an art form in itself and a universally recognised trademark and brand. From such a view, he is able to entertain the reader not only with stories about great players and matches well known by the followers of world football, but also about the unique position of the game in the world's fifth largest country. Thus featured here are not only tales of Garrincha, Socrates and Ronaldo, of Flamengo and Fluminense, but also of football amongst the Indians of the Amazon, Brazilian footballers in the Faroe Islands and the story of the design (and designer) of the famous golden yellow Brazilian shirt, perhaps the most instantly recognisable icon in football anywhere. Where other books investigating the footballing culture of one country might have a more straightforward story to tell, Bellos uses this more eclectic approach. While the subjects of his observations are linked by the common threads of football and Brazil, he still captures magnificently the beauty, passion and the occasional absurdity of the world game in the world's number one footballing nation. --Trevor Crowe --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"Bellos is an astute reported who writes clean, sparkling prose...he has produced a rich and enjoyable book." -- Chicago Tribune
"Compelling, alternately funny and dark...Bellos offers a cast of charachters as colorful as a Carnival parade." -- Publishers Weekly starred review
"Full of cheeky exuberance...an irresistible blend of many things at once." -- Time Out New York
"This book is the best way to explore this eccentric culturally verdant country." -- Forbes
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Top Customer Reviews
This book should be translated to Portuguese. It is top reference in any Brazilian soccer fan library. It really worth the reading.
I especially enjoyed the chapters on Garrincha and the 'Pelada' in Manaus. In addition, the sense of humor that the author has is funny, and provides great insight into Brazilian life.
In short, highly recommended.
When the first footballs arrived in Brazil at the end of the nineteenth century (in the baggage of a British industrialist, naturally) no one could ever have imagined the revolutionary effect they would bring about.
But add football to a huge number of displaced ex-slaves, a culture of music and capoiera, and a desire among employers to encourage physical exercise among their employees, then put it all together in a new country that desperately needs myths of its own, and you soon end up with a national sporting obsession that no other place in the world can match.
As Bellos shows, football has an unshakeable grip on the Brazilian psyche. A grip that culminated in the World Cup triumph of Mexico 1970. (Coincidentally, the first time the global football jamboree was beamed in colour around the world, courtesy of television.)
In the years since then, the myth of Brazilian football has grown while performances on the field have faded. The team that won USA 94 did so without plaudits from their own people, while the current national side has fallen from grace almost completely owing to its controversial allegiance to Nike and the sheer dullness of its football. (Which has become almost European in its one-dimensionality).Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I expected an exciting, informative book full of interesting anecdotes, but was disappointed. The beginning is simply boring, and the end is a superficial criticism of the current... Read morePublished on Jan. 25 2003
An absolutely fantastic book. I haven't finished reading the entire book yet but I'm facinated by the stories, details and importance of futebol in the brazilian culture. Read morePublished on July 24 2002