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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, September 09, 2004
    How Soccer Explains the World
    To follow-up yesterday's mention of Franklin Foer's How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization. I finished it today; a recommended read particularly if you understand just how much significance and influence football carries way beyond the ninety minutes, deep into society and the patterns of life itself. And want to understand more. And also if you have felt that someone, somewhere, eventually, must come up with a readable, understandable, educative and even entertaining book on globalization - Foer has done it.

    On my footy bookshelf this would go alongside Simon Kuper's Football against the Enemy, still the most revealing volume on football's deepest, darkest involvement with the cultural, economic and political powers. Except I've lost my copy of that, so just now Foer's stands alone, a fine addition. As Adam Gopnik said, "Franklin Foer has written a book that is significantly entertaining if you like soccer, and entertainingly significant if you don't."

    "In theory," Foer writes, "patriotism and cosmopolitanism should be perfectly compatible. You could love your country - even consider it a superior group - without desiring to dominate other groups or closing yourself off to foreign impulses. And it's not just theory. This is the spirit of [Barcelona]. I love it."

    The next must-read soccer book, on Foer's recomendation, will be Jimmy Burns's Barca: A People's Passion. Foer is openly biased about Barcelona, but understandably so given the club's uniqueness as a political powerpoint and one of world football's consistently greatest underachievers.

    [Thanks Pete]