We have some great pre or post game (or halftime!) reading for all you futbol fans:
Its no surprise that hardcore Netherlands fan Colt wrote a great review of David Winner’s Brilliant Orange: Dutch football great Johan Cruyff once said, “If I wanted you to understand it, I would have explained it better.” In Brilliant Orange, David Winner explains it all, and then some, with great affection and humor. Winner shows how the history of Dutch football is also much like the history of the Netherlands itself. He details not only the development of many Dutch national quirks but also the rise of “Totaal Voetbal,” the national team’s distinctive style of play. Just like Holland as a country had to find new and imaginative uses for space because it is so small, Dutch footballers used the space on the football pitch in ways no one had ever seen before. Even for non-football fans, this off-beat book is a delightful read.
How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer: Soccer is much more than a game, or even a way of life. It is a perfect window into the cross–currents of today's world, with all its joys and its sorrows. In this remarkably insightful, wide–ranging work of reportage, Franklin Foer takes us on a surprising tour through the world of soccer, shining a spotlight on the clash of civilizations, the international economy, and just about everything in between. How Soccer Explains the World is an utterly original book that makes sense of our troubled times.
Africa United: Soccer, Passion, Politics, and the First World Cup in Africa By Steve Bloomfield: Africa United is the story of modern-day Africa told through its soccer. Traveling across thirteen countries, from Cairo to the Cape, Steve Bloomfield meets players and fans, politicians and rebel leaders, discovering the role that soccer has played in shaping the continent. He recounts how soccer has helped to stoke conflicts and end wars, bring countries together and prop up authoritarian regimes.
A lively and elegantly reported travelogue, Africa United calls attention to the amazing relationships between people and soccer, and to the state of Africa on the cusp of the biggest moment in its sporting history, the 2010 World Cup.
A Beautiful Game: The World's Greatest Players and How Soccer Changed Their Lives By Tom Watt: For this unique collaborative project, soccer writer Tom Watt talked to the world's top players about growing up and falling in love with the game: Argentina's Lionel Messi and Brazil's Gilberto Silva; England's David James and Scotland's Craig Gordon; Italy's Fabio Cannavaro, Spain's Iker Casillas, and France's Franck RibÉry; South Africa's Benni McCarthy and Nigeria's Nwankwo Kanu; USA's Landon Donovan and Japan's Shunsuke Nakamura; and the world's most famous player, David Beckham.
A Beautiful Game tells their stories, in the players' own words—stories of boys who would grow up to be heroes for a new generation of young players and fans. They look back to their childhoods: to their family homes, to their schoolrooms, to the friends they grew up with, and to the places where they first played the game that has made them stars. The players' words are brought to life with over 160 full-color images that offer rare, emotive, and striking insights into childhood all over the world, and celebrate soccer's ability to touch the lives of children—and adults—wherever the beautiful game is played.
Five percent of the originating publisher's revenue from sales of the book worldwide will benefit selected UNICEF sports-related projects.
More Than Just a Game: Soccer vs. Apartheid: The Most Important Soccer Story Ever Told By Chuck Korr, Marvin Close: Timed perfectly for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the true story of how political prisoners under apartheid found hope and dignity through soccer
In the hell that was Robben Island, inmates united courageously in an act of protest. Beginning in 1964, they requested the right to play soccer during their exercise periods. Denied repeatedly, they risked beatings and food deprivation by repeating their request for three years. Finally granted this right, the prisoners banded together to form a multi-tiered, pro-level league that ran for more than two decades and served as an impassioned symbol of resistance against apartheid. Former Robben Island inmate Nelson Mandela noted in the documentary FIFA: 90 Minutes for Mandela, “Soccer is more than just a game…. The energy, passion, and dedication this game created made us feel alive and triumphant despite the situation we found ourselves in.”
Kabul Girls Soccer Club: A Dream, Eight Girls, and a Journey Home By Awista Ayub: Ayub has movingly captured the indomitable spirit of Afghan women in this chronicle of brave girls who risked persecution and worse to pursue the dreams of ordinary childhood. In doing what they love most in life--playing soccer--the girls become emblems of the fight for equality and human rights under the Taliban.--Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.