A bit of an odd book to add to the mix, but I thought it would be fun to add something for the football fans. For those of you in Aus or the US, I am talking about Soccer. I have loved the sport since I could walk and found this book fascinating.
How Football Explains The World is a non-fiction book written by American journalist Franklin Foer. I picked this book up in Singapore several years ago as I was intrigued by the title. The book is exactly as I expected; tales and opinions on how Football explains different cultures, society and behaviour.
Franklin Foer takes us around the world, introducing us to fans and clubs, discussing different aspects of the game and the culture surrounding it. It is interesting to see how fan clubs emerge. Some fans are backed by love for the game where as others support a team for political reasons and associate the club with freedom and patriotism.
What I love about this book is that it is written from an American's perspective, where american football and baseball are the national sport and soccer falls behind. I thought he may be blinded by his background, but he does his research well and is able to give an honest look into the sport without being subjective. One thing that does come up is that Foer wasn't raised breathing and dreaming about the sport, therefore I find his opinion may not always be equally met by readers who have a passionate love for the game. I have heard from some readers that his views are quite arrogant as he is an outsider, but I will leave that to you to judge for yourself.
To football fans, this is not a book about your favourite club or players, this is all about the love of the game and the effect it has on the world. Foer goes deep into the sport, talking about rivalries, hooliganism, migration, corruption and nationalism.
There is nothing too spectacular about this cover. It is predominantly text with a small photo of two children playing with a ball. One thing I am glad about is that there is no giant picture of the world made to look like a football, that would have been worse. I do however prefer the US cover - It makes much more sense.
This was a great read! If you hate football, it would probably be boring for you and I would suggest you dont bother. However, if you love to learn about cultures or love the sport, you will like this. This book does not explain how football explains the entire world, it only explains how football has shaped cultures and behaviours that are associated with it. It is not a boring history lesson on the world.
Release Date: March 2002
Publisher: Arrow (Cornerstone)
Author: Franklin Foer