The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer
by David Goldblatt
Don’t be put off by the title of this book. Yes, it is precisely that; a global history of soccer but there is so much substance to this 974 page book than meets the eye.
The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football explores football from it’s very beginning, citing how and why the beautiful game is what is is today in five parts. No stone is left unturned as it covers everything you can possibly imagine about soccer from tactics, the impact of sponsorship and marketing to politics and globalisation.
While other football books fall into the trap of being too academic or inaccessible, Goldblatt manages to keep the ‘Ball is Round’ as easy and enjoyable to read as possible without ever trying to dumb it down.
The use of short narrations, anecdotes, profiles and humour to perfectly capture the essence of the game. It examines the cultural meanings and political uses of football in Peron’s Argentina, Adenauer’s West Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mussolini’s Italy, George Weah on African football, profiles of the Wunderteam and Brazil while not skimping on the unappreciated parts of football such as architecture of stadiums. The book even reveals the most wanted man in the world supports Arsenal.
So the definitive football book, which you wouldn’t take on your holiday but could dip in and out from the whole year and it wouldn’t matter what part you read last.
More coming soon. If you have any football related or general recommendations please leave a comment below.