Jimmy Burns is a very good writer. In this book he conveys the relationship between the Barcelona football club and the people of the Catalan region of Spain. It's a history of the Catalan people written through their love of their football team. He takes you through the Spanish Civil War (when the only place the Catalan's could display their regional pride was at the stadium) all the way to present day (the rivalry with the Castillon side Real Madrid is as touchy as ever). A great read for any football fan, sports fan or someone interested in history.
Jimmy Burns writes dispassionately about a football club that evokes the strongest of emotions, including the kind of tribal love that borders on the chauvenistic. Fans of the club interested in modern Spanish history will appreciate the author's intertwining of football and politics. At times, however, this well-researched book feels drained of the game's abundant color and spirit as club presidents receive far more attention than the boot room. Burns presents Barca's story chronologically, offering an absorbing account of the club's creation, but when Franco arrives on the scene, the pages become populated with conniving industrialists. While certainly part of Barca's story, the board room machinations of ambitious men, the suited grandees who routinely violate the club's dubious democratic ethos, drown out the passion of the cules.