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Ajax, The Dutch, The War: Football in Europe During the Second World War (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Simon Kuper

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The Holocaust, Dutch football and World War II - from the bestselling author of the award-winning FOOTBALL AGAINST THE ENEMY.

In FOOTBALL AGAINST THE ENEMY Simon Kuper crossed the globe in search of the links between football, politics and culture. In AJAX, THE DUTCH, THE WAR he skilfully pieces together an alternative account of World War II. He looks at the lives of the footballers who played for the Dutch club, the officials and the ordinary fans during this tumultuous period and challenges the accepted notion of the War in occupied Europe. With almost 80 per cent of Amsterdam's Jewish Corner wiped out during the war, the long-held belief that, by and large, half the Dutch population had some kind of link to the Resistance has, of late, come into question.

Kuper explores this issue and looks deeper into the role of football across Europe in the years both preceding and following the War. The result is a compelling and controversial account of the War, seen through the lens of football.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.0 étoiles sur 5  10 commentaires
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A myth-buster! 10 janvier 2006
Par Erkan Saka - Publié sur
Simon Kuper maintains his easy-flowing style and investigative journalism concerning his topic. I was already suspicious about the 'Dutch tolerance', and this book can be read to shatter all there is...

However, this is not really a book on football or Ajax. Yes, Mr. Kuper is the best to connect football and politics but this time there is more politics than soccer. And it seems that the whole book is organized to shatter a myth in which Ajax is a small part... Anyway, I did not feel any regret to read the book, i am just warning you about what to expect...
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Dutch complacency exposed 25 février 2012
Par Mark Epps - Publié sur
In his previous work, such as the magisterial "Football against the Enemy", and in his newspaper columns collected in "The Football Men", the FT journalist Simon Kuper demonstrates both his deep knowledge of the game and an intimate familiarity with the British, Dutch and German national characters that must be unparalleled among sports writers.

I have read many books about football and many about the war. This is one of the best on either subject. "Football Against the Enemy", along with Nick Hornby's "Fever Pitch", founded a genre - that devoted to the consumption of sport, rather than the sport itself. Having thus established himself as a "sporting anthropologist", Kuper is uniquely equipped to explore tyranny from the point of view of sport.

As Kuper himself points out in the first chapter of "Ajax, the Dutch, the War", the myth that the Netherlands had heroically done all it could to resist German barbarism has long since been discarded by the Dutch, though interestingly it lives on in Israel. He rejects however the idea that there was nothing that could have been done in the face of such a brutal occupaton by comparison with Denmark and Norway. The stark fact is that the Netherlands lost three quarters of its Jews, largely rounded up by Dutch officials and policemen, while the occupied Scandinavians and even Germany's Italian and Bulgarian allies refused to heed German demands for mass deportation. In his condemnation of Amsterdam's present complacent attitude to the recent past Kuper's tone, especially in the final chapter, betrays a bitterness spared towards the rival city of Rotterdam.

Other chapters give interesting insights, such as the one devoted to THAT salute, the Hitlergruß given by the England players to the Berlin crowd before an international match played a year before war broke out. Our reactions to the infamous photograph are of course determined by our knowledge of what happened in the years that followed, but at the time it did not provoke much reaction, and was seen simply as good ambassadorship. A lesson learned by reading this chapter is that the Nazis were at the time far from obsessed with winning, were in awe of England's renown for good sporting behaviour and wanted to acquire the same reputation.

This is a book about football and it's a book about the war. You need to be interested in both, but if you are it's an engrossing read.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Eliminate "Ajax" from the title 12 juin 2012
Par Ted Stimson - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The link to football is minimal. This book focuses much more on the Dutch, the war, and the treatment of Jews than it does on football or Ajax. More importantly, it's just not that interesting.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 'Myth-buster' is correct, more of an indictment on the role of the Dutch in WWII... 31 décembre 2009
Par Tom Plum - Publié sur
I must agree, using Ajax is a way to examine the role of the Netherlands in World War II and for the most part it is not flattering. The author has an agenda but he is aiming at certain truths which may be selective history. It is even misleading that it is not actually titled "Ajax, the Dutch, the War and the Jews" because that is what this is about and not neccessarily in that order. Among the evil and gross wrong of war, there are some heroic episodes involving the Dutch against the Nazi war machine. A lot of detail gives us much of the ambience of those days. Still, the Dutch as a people and as to whether they were victimized by the Nazi war machine is very much a minor issue with the author along with any other ethnic group feeling that wrath. However, the author does play on the fact, that teams like Ajax like Tottenham in England are perceived to have ties with the Jewish people.

Chapter 11 "Soldier Heroes: British and German football in the war" is exciting per World War II buffs, especially the travails of some of the German National players such as Alex Sing. You will read of how German soccer teams in Paris even were attacked by Partisans while practicing.

Ajax is truly a most legendary name in international club soccer with their development of 'total football', a team built on style and finesse and not monetary ones via most of the biggest clubs in Europe. Ajax, the club itself was largely heroic during World War II versus say, the Netherlands as a whole in Kuper's research.Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football is highly recommended reading as well.

Still, it's a book on Dutch soccer and that is good., Yossi Benyaouin does fabulous for Liverpool, a product of Ajax but truly may not merit a whole section on him.

How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization is really a go-to book on international football though it is the Kuper books that seem to be so highly praised. I read "How soccer..." a few years ago, rated it well and I still remember so much of it. The chapter Foer wrote concerning the Travelling Jewish team from Europe going to New York and other places to play matches and being a premier team in the world at the time is an absolutely brilliant, exciting & inspiring story which I've yet to read anything as good from Kuper himself.
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A really great book 5 avril 2008
Par Jack Peachy - Publié sur
From the title, I thought this would be a simplistic story of a European football team, and would be mildly interesting. I found it to be one of the best histories I have ever come across. Not only are the stories spellbinding, but I have never come across any other book which has covered the material, and I have read hundreds of books on WW II. To top it off, I had even previously heard (and believed) all of the stories which the author shows to be myths. I want more !!!!
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