The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football (Anglais) Broché – 9 août 2010
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
"Since it became a worldwide phenomenon, nobody has attempted to write an overall history of the game. Now David Goldblatt's stunning book will be the measure against which all other such volumes are judged." --The Guardian
"Goldblatt writes with authority, humor, and passion, not least in the accounts of famous or significant matches scattered throughout the book... there is no doubting the worth of David Goldblatt's extraordinary book." --Times Literary Supplement (London)
"Goldblatt's magnum opus, at close to a thousand pages, is an ambitious project realized in a most impressive manner. Anyone with a brain and an interest in football will enjoy this book: just don't drop it on your foot." --The Daily Telegraph (London)
"Just possibly the most erudite football book ever, yet also a very good read. Goldblatt doesn't just understand the social context of the game around the world; he also has a nose for the best stories. This book is a mindboggling achievement." --Simon Kuper, author of Soccer Against the Enemy --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
To begin with, I really anticipated reading this book, as someone who has been a fan of soccer most of my life, albeit in an on and off fashion. I also appreciate long and in depth books, as this one appeared to be. However, I am so far somewhat disappointed in it.
The book is a survey of soccer, from its inception as an organized sport, its working class roots in England, to its evolution in Latin America and modern European leagues. This breadth is also what the book ultimately suffers from. It attempts to weave the different strands of sociology, economics, politics, and culture together in one coherent narrative; but it fails, because the weight collapses on itself.
It's a very difficult task to find a focus in a book of this breadth. It's more challenging still to find a sociological, economic or cultural thesis that could be backed up by solid research and data. Thus, the result is a meandering narrative, without any focus or overarching theory about anything. The author does touch on certain sociological and political issues and aspects, like the working class roots of soccer in England; soccer in Latin America under dictatorships; and tactical differences between countries and continents as a reflection of culture and politics. The disappointment is that there is no in depth treatment of any of these topics, and the result is that the presentation of these issues is nothing more than a set of cobbled, albeit interesting, observations. In sum, this book is ultimately a survey of soccer country by country, continent by continent, era by era.
The prose of the book is readable, but nothing amazing. Often times I found myself re-reading passages due to the lack of clarity; at other times I felt bored and ended up skimming sections because of the dryness of the topics and/or prose.
All in all, this book had a lot of potential and probably would have been better written and more interesting if its breadth was reduced, and its length truncated. However, if you are new to the sport, and looking to learn the basics of the global history of soccer, this book may be for you.
The author provides many examples of totalitarian regimes using football as a political tool. He explores how the Fascists exploited football for political gain and how South American military regimes used football as well to promote their own political agenda. At one point late in the book the author makes the link between certain governments use of Football as a tool for "Bread and Circus", much as was done in ancient Rome to control the masses. I felt he made a compelling case for how local populations often were able to keep their own nationalistic hopes alive under oppressive regimes such as Franco in Spain via their allegiance to local football teams. In other cases, such as the Serbs and Croatians in the ex-Yugoslavia he shows this latent kindling of nationalistic expression and how it led to the rapid organization of Nationalistic causes in the war in Bosnia in the 1990's.
The book also looks at how economic development in local economies can often anticipate both the rise and fall of football achievement in many countries. I was impressed by his discussions of how football time and again is used as an outlet for the political expression for disillusioned youth in many countries as well. In the book we look at the evolution of hooliganism and how "Ultra" groups developed and are funded. The use of drugs and doping in sports is not neglected in this book, but to my eye it's largesse and significance is a bit underplayed. However the spread of corruption in Football is never ignored or dignified.
I enjoyed how the author linked the late development of a strong international football display on the world soccer stage in Japan and Korea to societal customs and traditional hierarchies within their societies. The author expertly explores the role of how television and specifically cable Television has influenced the growth of the sport.
The book is not just a book about the sociology of the world however. There is plenty of football to be had, strategy, world cup history and plenty of Champions league, etc to be explored. If you are a Football fanatic (which I must admit I am not), I can't imagine not reading this book.