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1. The Ball is Round: A Global History
2. Great Moments in World Cup History
3. Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism.
4. The World's Game: A HISTORY OF
5. Inverting the Pyramid: The History
6. Soccer 365 Days
7. Soccer in a Football World: The
8. Soccer's Most Wanted: The Top
9. Winning at All Costs: A Scandalous
10. The Reduced History of Football:
11. The History of the World Cup 2010
12. Soccer: A History of the World's
13. African Soccerscapes: How a Continent
14. The Encyclopedia of American Soccer
15. History of Sports - Soccer
16. The rainbow game: A random history
17. History of the Soccer World Cup
18. A pictorial history of soccer
19. Cassell Soccer Companion: History,
20. Belles of the Ball: The Early

1. The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer
by David Goldblatt
Paperback: 992 Pages (2008-01-02)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$13.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594482969
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The definitive book about soccer. With a new foreword for the American edition.

There may be no cultural practice more global than soccer. Rites of birth and marriage are infinitely diverse, but the rules of soccer are universal. No world religion can match its geographical scope. The single greatest simultaneous human collective experience is the World Cup final.

In this extraordinary tour de force, David Goldblatt tells the full story of soccer's rise from chaotic folk ritual to the world's most popular sport-now poised to fully establish itself in the USA. Already celebrated internationally, The Ball Is Round illuminates soccer's role in the political and social histories of modern societies, but never loses sight of the beauty, joy, and excitement of the game itself.Amazon.com Review
The definitive book about soccer. With a new foreword for the American edition.

There may be no cultural practice more global than soccer. Rites of birth and marriage are infinitely diverse, but the rules of soccer are universal. No world religion can match its geographical scope. The single greatest simultaneous human collective experience is the World Cup final.

In this extraordinary tour de force, David Goldblatt tells the full story of soccer's rise from chaotic folk ritual to the world's most popular sport-now poised to fully establish itself in the USA. Already celebrated internationally, The Ball Is Round illuminates soccer's role in the political and social histories of modern societies, but never loses sight of the beauty, joy, and excitement of the game itself.

Questions for David Goldblatt

Amazon.com: There's a sentence in the middle of The Ball Is Round that to me sums up a great deal of the culture of football. After noting that Pelé had scored nearly a goal a game in over 1,300 professional matches--the sort of stat that would be on every page in a history of one of the major American sports but that is very rare in this one--you write, "This of course tells us nothing about all the goals he made." What stories do football fans tell about their sport and their stars?

Goldblatt: Well, in America not only would you be banging on about Pele's goal to game ratio but you would have been collecting statistics in a rational organized manner about his assists--a concept that had only entered soccer statistics in the last few years. The state of Brazilian football statistics during Pelé's career would not pass muster in Cooperstown in can tell you. Bill James would have a nervous breakdown with hopeless state of the data base. Soccer fans tell a lot the same stories that Americans tell themselves, sagas, epics, heroic tasks, near misses, dramatic comebacks, tales of curious individualists and unshakeable teams, but they are told in a the idioms, genres, vocabulary, and head space ofhundreds of different cultures.

Amazon.com: I have to ask the inevitable question: why hasn't football--rather, soccer--ever taken hold in the United States (despite generations now who grow up playing it)? (And does the rest of the world care if it ever does?) I was fascinated by your comment in the American foreword that you recovered from finishing the book by ignoring soccer for half a year and only watching American sports. What did you notice?

Goldblatt: Contrary to the received wisdom I would say that soccer has taken hold in the US, if we look at participation figures amongst women and the young, and while MLS isn't about to challenge the premiership or Serie A for money or glamour it looks like it is now established on a firm footing. If the game can just tap into the rising Latino communities of America it could be pushing hockey for fourth sport.

That said it would still be just number 4. Baseball, football, and basketball have now had over a century's head start on soccer and between them created a wider sports culture--of expectations, tastes, and pleasures--that I think sometimes finds soccer incomprehensible ( what's with the draws?) or distasteful (all that diving). Soccer had its chance in the USA in the 1920s and 30s when East Coast professional leagues were drawing big crowds but a combination of bureaucratic infighting, the Wall Street crash, and the lingering ethnic associations of the game killed it for two generations.

My time with American sports, which I should add is far from over, wasn't planned. After the 2006 World Cup I just couldn't watch any more soccer and there was an awfully big space in my brain where that used to go on. Moneyball by Michael Lewis came into the void and that took me to Jules Tygiel and the great tradition of baseball histories, Ken Burns's long documentary which enchanted me (watched the whole thing in two days) and by the time I had read Roger Angell and stopped laughing, discovered Jackie Robinson, DiMaggio's Streak, and the Shot Heard Round the World it was time to subscribe to NASN and watch the last two months of the 2006 season. If you like the places where culture, society, sport, and history intersect then you're going to like baseball. I'm still working on hockey, in fact I'm still working on seeing the puck, and I'm trying hard to understand football--but I'm finding the helmets, amongst other things, a problem.

What did I notice? Where do I begin? After barely thinking about the United States for three and half years the whole modern history of America opened up before me. That's a work in progress.

Amazon.com: It's hard to underestimate the density and breadth of knowledge that went into this book: politics, culture, and of course football, across the entire football-playing world (which is to say, the entire world). How did you research your vast topic?

Goldblatt: The Ball Is Round was, in retrospect, 20 years in the making. I had wanted to write a world history since I knew that such things existed. In a former life I spent a long time working on globalization and global history and then I made a global atlas of football, so I had plenty of background.

After that, I followed Phillip Pullman's advice, "Read like a butterfly, write like a bee." I read a lot, followed my nose and other's advice, scoured journals, libraries and old magazines, studied web sites, visited museums, stadia, and shrines, made contacts in a lot of countries, and begged, bought, and traded information and opinion--oh and I watched an awful lot of football.

There were trips to Scotland, Sweden, Serbia, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Greece, Tunisia, Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina not to mention a lot of old games on video and DVD.

How did I write it? Fast.

Amazon.com: There is nearly as much politics in your history as football--among Argentines, for instance, Peron has nearly as many index entries as Maradona. Why did you not want to write a history only of the players and the games? What relationship do you see between football and politics?

Goldblatt: How could anyone write a history of just players and games and be true to the meaning of soccer? Milan Kundera defended the role of the literary critic by arguing "Without the meditative background that is criticism, works become isolated gestures, historical accidents, soon forgotten." I would say the same of same of social history and sport. All sports trade on their histories, but tend to offer us at best the anodyne accounts of their own development and meanings at worst they are scurrilous cover-ups and concocted myth. Sport and its audience deserve better.

The relationship between football and politics takes many forms--it has been entwined with every conceivable political ideology and movement, every geographical unit and social division, and it has served authoritarian and democratic visions. In the end, football will take on and express the politics determined by our collective choices and struggles, the point for me is to remember that one has choices; to some extent we get the soccer we deserve.

Amazon.com: Has modern football become too big for itself, between the tycoons and the multinationals, the giant audiences and transfer fees, the corruption and the endless media coverage? Is there still space for the game?

Goldblatt: I went to see Manchester United last year in the Champions league--a 70th birthday present for my Mancunian father-in-law--and here at the epicenter of the global branding revolution and the foreign takeover and the rest of it I was privileged to see Carlos Tevez take the game by the scruff of the neck and force 21 players and 70,000 people to track his every move--electric.

Come to Bristol, England's most underperforming soccer city (half a million people, two clubs, no titles) and tell me there's no space for the game. No one is going to Bristol Rovers to be part of giant audience or a world shaped by tycoons and multinationals. But go they do, and to Bristol City too, teetering on the edge of the premiership and there I find a game that makes me laugh--soccer does pantomime and farce here--but surprises, thrills, and reminds me as part of a living crowd the one thing that writing a world history really drives home--"we are all just a drop in the ocean."

Amazon.com: And lastly: who's your favorite for Euro 2008?

Goldblatt: It feels really open--so I'm going with an outsider (like Greece at 2004)--Croatia.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars great book
A great book for a soccer fan; the firstI saw that gives you the game in the contest of the social, political, and religious reasons of why and how the sport developed in the different parts of the world.

4-0 out of 5 stars Must Have for Soccer Fans!
I have had a dabbling interest in soccer for a few years now, mostly watching EPL games, and whatever MLS games I can find locally. I really started to get more into the game globally since the 2010 World Cup. I thought this book might help me 'catch up' on the culture surrounding The Beautiful Game, and boy, was I right!

The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer is a great read for long time fans, or people just new to the sport. As an American, it is hard to comprehend how the rest of the world has been shaped by this game. Just as baseball is interwoven into the fabric of American modern history, so too is football (or soccer) for the rest of the world. From rebuilding the proud heritage of Germany and Eastern Europe after World War II, to helping England move from an empirical power to a member of a global community, to sparking social, political, and criminal revolutions in South America, and bringing both European and South American culture to the African continent, football has helped shape most of the modern civilizations currently thriving on our planet, and there is no better way to experience these effects than through this incredibly comprehensive text.

I should include a disclaimer, if you do not really, REALLY like the sport, this probably isn't the book for you. While there is much modern world history interspersed with the minutiae of football's past, there are probably better options from a strictly historical perspective. If, however, you are interested in seeing how cultures across the globe have evolved through sport, there is no better text.

So the next time you insult a linesman, post a harsh comment on a soccer blog, or lambaste your team for not adding a new striker, take heart that you are a member of a world community. If you want to know more, David Goldblatt will be happy to educate you.

1-0 out of 5 stars Overpriced
$19 for an e-book, when the paperback is $16.50?!

Sorry Penguin. I'll get this one at the library. You just lost a sale.

3-0 out of 5 stars Did They Actually Read The Whole Thing?
My title is not directed at other reviewers here, but at the many glowing reviews for this book featured on its cover and first pages.This is not a beautifully written book, the majority of it is extremely tedious, and at its worst the writing is virtually incoherent.

THE BALL IS ROUND is touted as a history of soccer, but it is ultimately a book about world history in the 20th Century, with soccer as the lens through which that history is viewed.This is an important distinction to make, because reading this book will give you little understanding of the tactical evolution of the game, the famous personalities, players, coaches, the legendary moments of triumph and failure, the great rivalries between teams.The book is much more interested in the politcal and historical aspects of the game's history, and much less so in the sporting ones.

Nevertheless, the book is extremely comprehensive in the outlook that it does take.Goldblatt examines the history of the game on practically (often literally) a nation by nation basis, covering the entire world.He divides the book both by historical era and geographical location, so that chapters generally alternate back and forth from one continent to the next while the book proceeds gradually forward through historical time.Unfortunately, much of this content ends up being tedious and scrapped together.

THE BALL IS ROUND starts off well, the sections about the early history of the game are excellent and I recommend them, but after the first one or two hundred pages, the quality of prose and content rapidly decline.Goldblatt approaches this history with a relentless determination both to editorialize it and to cast it in literary terms, leading to often tortured descriptions of situations and events.It becomes a long, slow, uphill slog.There is a lot of information here, but you will really have to work for it.The book's prose and structural coherence gradually disintegrate into an awkward litany of facts and propositions, even to the point of virtual incoherence.For example, "If the Premiereship has come to signal the renascent successes and costs of England's new commercially minded private sector and the tastes of its comfortable middle classes, the fate of the national team has offered more complex readings."Really slow down and try to parse that sentence.

With a lot more editing, and perhaps another year or three of work, I think this book could have realized its high ambitions and been a classic.As it is, it is neither a good historical survey nor an engaging read for the football/soccer enthusiast.There is much to learn about world history and the history of soccer within the pages of THE BALL IS ROUND, and the sections on the early history of the sport are really very good, but the middle sections of the book lack structure and are poorly written.It gets a bit better again towards the end.

One interesting thing this book revealed was how rife with corruption the entire history of the sport of soccer has been.Goldblatt does not shy away from these ugly moments, which are often swept under the rug by other books and commentators.

I wish I could give this book a more positive review, but I have to be honest.I know of few readers who would push past the two or three hundred page mark on this one, and perhaps that is why there are only a handful of reviews here in spite of the sport's surging popularity in the US.Being stubborn and reading the whole thing like I did is unlikely to be a satisfying use of your time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing work
An amazing piece of historical writing.Well worth your time.Start now in order to finish before next years World Cup.... ... Read more

2. Great Moments in World Cup History (World Soccer Books)
by Diane Bailey
Paperback: 64 Pages (2010-01-15)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$196.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1615328750
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

3. Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism.
by Andrei S. Markovits, Steven L. Hellerman
Paperback: 362 Pages (2001-05-01)
list price: US$30.95 -- used & new: US$23.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 069107447X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Soccer is the world's favorite pastime, a passion for billions around the globe. In the United States, however, the sport is a distant also-ran behind football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Why is America an exception? And why, despite America's leading role in popular culture, does most of the world ignore American sports in return? Offside is the first book to explain these peculiarities, taking us on a thoughtful and engaging tour of America's sports culture and connecting it with other fundamental American exceptionalisms. In so doing, it offers a comparative analysis of sports cultures in the industrial societies of North America and Europe.

The authors argue that when sports culture developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, nativism and nationalism were shaping a distinctly American self-image that clashed with the non-American sport of soccer. Baseball and football crowded out the game. Then poor leadership, among other factors, prevented soccer from competing with basketball and hockey as they grew. By the 1920s, the United States was contentedly isolated from what was fast becoming an international obsession.

The book compares soccer's American history to that of the major sports that did catch on. It covers recent developments, including the hoopla surrounding the 1994 soccer World Cup in America, the creation of yet another professional soccer league, and American women's global preeminence in the sport. It concludes by considering the impact of soccer's growing popularity as a recreation, and what the future of sports culture in the country might say about U.S. exceptionalism in general. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars One of a kind but dry
Offside, by Andrei Markovits and Steven Hellerman, is a very interesting, if somewhat dry read. It is not a narrative, and almost an academic work, filled with endnotes, with all the positives and negatives that an academic book brings. It is obviously well-researched, and the argument Morkovits and Hellerman make, that soccer missed a window of opportunity at beginning of the 20th Century, causing it to (possibly) forever be a secondary sport, is an interesting one. Offside was the first book to look deeply at the role of soccer in the United States, and still remains the most insightful look at the question, Why Isn't Soccer Popular Here? It is a better researched book than, How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, although not as entertaining.

Having learned a few things about the history of soccer in the U.S., and how it compares to the history of football, basketball, and baseball, it is tempting to draw some conslusions about the future of soccer in America. The author touch on this, stating that they cannot predict whether soccer will ever challenge the big three major sports in the U.S. It is interesting, with the 2010 World Cup approaching, to look at the thoughts people had about soccer just ten years ago, which seem both overly optimistic and needlessly cynical. Soccer certainly isn't ingrained in our mainstream, and some writers quoted in Offside suggest it might be, but soccer also hasn't gone away. MLS continues to grow, slowly, high schools continue to add soccer programs around the country, and Latino immigration continues to introduce soccer into new communities.

Offside is a useful book for fans of the beautiful game, students of sociology, or newcomers to soccer who are interested in finding out why it occupies that place it does in our society.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the few page turners sure to satisfy sports fans and academics alike!
Shortly after moving to Arizona as a fifth grader, I was introduced to soccer for the first time by a group of overzealous classmates. These were kids who loved every aspect of the game, having participated in organized leagues from the time they entered pre-school. So, when I invited my new found friends over to my house to watch a few World Cup games in an effort to fit in with them, they laughed at me. Soccer was a sport that you play, but never watch. "It's boring."

From that point forward, the question of why soccer has never become a major factor in American sports culture has always puzzled me. "Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism" by Andrei Markovits and Steven Hellerman expertly answers this question. Combining an academic's research skills with the passion of a sports fan, Offside will will satisfy social scientists, soccer enthusiasts, and the general sport aficionado alike. This marvelously researched volume builds upon a strong theoretical framework with an impressively researched history which will make even the most well-versed sport historian stop in his or her tracks with awe.

Markovits and Hellerman use chapter one to illustrate the theoretical framework of this book, defining "hegemonic sports culture," and explaining the rise and subsequent freezing of a nation's "sport space." Chapters two and three describe the formation of American hegemonic sport culture and the development of America's "Big Three-and-One-Half" sport space (Baseball, Football and Baksetball, with hockey representing the half), and the failure of soccer to properly compete during this fledgling time for team sports. For me, this is where the book truly shines, carefully detailing the rise of each of America's major sports. However, I was truly struck by the missteps of soccer enthusiasts and leaders during this important period in sport development. Markovits and Hellerman illustrate quite clearly that even though the cards may have been stacked against the rise of soccer in the United States, the historical actors who would have been responsible for its rise failed at successfully bringing it to the masses.

Simply put, this book is a superb read--a true page turner which lends itself well to both leisure reading and/or a true academic endeavor. Regardless of whether you are interested in learning about soccer's failure in the United States, or are simply curious as to how the hegemonic sport cultures that the world takes for granted came into existence, Offside will provide you with an excellent read.

5-0 out of 5 stars What the authors overlooked
As a soccer standout in my youth (I played goalie and fullback), I relished weekends and flinging my body at the ball, sliding in the mud and generally abusing my body to prevent the ball from getting past me.That was in the 1970s.I served 17 years in the Army, and as recently as three years ago, we played soccer for our physical training, and I was surprised how at the age of 39, my instincts for goalkeeping never left me.

That's playing the game.Watching it is rather boring.And, I do not think this is solely due to inept American sportscasters and technical crews (they are).It is because there is a monotonous quality to the game that does not lend itself to television the way other sports have going for them.Even when I watch Italian or Spanish-language broadcasts, I've noticed the rather businesslike pace of the game.It is like viewing a game of pinball, though played by people.

The grit and drama onfield for some reason do not translate to the tube.Don't ask me why.Baseball is prima facie more boring, but it translate to the small screen wonderfully.Perhaps the cinematography of the camera setups bring great drama to the sport that is not as readily apparent.

Football is simply chess on the field as played by titanic men.I can't get enough of NFL football, because it is literally war for the 60 minutes of playing time.

In Europe, people beat each other up over soccer games.It's like everyone in England is like a Philadelphia Eagles fan in a different body and country.For America to have the same zeal for soccer, we'd have to use well-seasoned NFL cameramen.I truly think this is why soccer hasn't gone over well in the U.S.:It's covered from a distance, and the play seems so *polite* compared to real football.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, though not captivating, reading
In addition to being a fan of most pro sports, I also happen to volunteer in my local youth soccer league. I have seen the sport grow and, in a way, start to decline. I say decline because the recreational youth leagues that promote fun over winning are seeing a decrease in registration while the "select" or "club" leagues that focus on individual performance and dreams of college scholarships are gaining in popularity.No matter the level, soccer still remains a game for children to play more than an adult game to watch. And that is the point of this book-Why is soccer still not a marquee sport in the United States?What keeps people from embracing and devoting themselves to soccer the way they do the "big three and a half," as baseball, football, basketball and hockey (the 1/2) are referred to by the author?

"Offside" reads like a history textbook. First, the authors outline the history of baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. They point out how nationalism, marketing, and competent, though controversial, management all contributed to the flourishing of those sports in the United States.I will say it is more interesting reading than exciting reading since only sports "junkies" may enjoy knowing how the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL came to be what they are today. Then we get a history of soccer and learn all the factors working for and against its growth in the United States. Finally, we are brought up to modern day when the U.S. hosted the 1994 World Cup and soccer took center stage here. The authors review both the good and bad ideas that had the sport on the brink of rising to perhaps number four.Alas, we also get an analysis of how that momentum was lost when the American team did not do so well at the 1998 World Cup. The success of the women's game is mentioned but the women's professional league folded shortly after the book was written.

I enjoyed this book kind of like a magazine in a doctor's office; it is a nice time-filler and you may learn something you didn't know before. If you are involved with soccer at any level and enjoy sports history or biographies, you may like this book. Otherwise, think twice before "kicking" back with this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Its less boring to read about it than to watch it
This is a sociological study aimed to explain why ' soccer'(
To the rest of the world 'football') has not become one of the major American sports. The authors speak about American exceptionalism what differentiates its culture from Europe. Among the elements are America's freedom from a feudal heritage, freedom from concentration on class war, emphasis thanks to cheap land and great space on individual economic development. The more crowded Europeans look to collective entitlements while the Americans rely on the individual to achieve his own wealth and happiness.
This American exceptionalism helps explain why baseball, football and basketball are the sports of what they call ' cultural hegemony' in America. More people may fish and play billiards but the big three are the ones talked about, written about , endlessly pre-gamed and post- gamed, the ones at the heart of the common culture.
In the course of telling why ' soccer' is left out in America the authors present a serious analysis of ' sports' in industrial nations. This alone would make the book highly worthwhile.
... Read more

4. The World's Game: A HISTORY OF SOCCER (Illinois History of Sports)
by Bill Murray
Paperback: 256 Pages (1998-01-01)
list price: US$20.95 -- used & new: US$12.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0252067185
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Written by a well-known Australian sports historian, this work shows the history of how soccer has become the world's most popular sport.Amazon.com Review
Soccer, one of the most popular games in the world, is playedby many and is supported fanatically by millions. So, how did thissport come about? What were its origins? Why has it flourished for solong? Bill Murray, an Australian sports historian, answers thesequestions and many more as he persuasively presents the case for whysoccer is the premier sport of the world.Tracing the history of theorganized game--from its origins as a leisure pastime forprivate-school alumni in London in 1863 to the World Cup held in theU.S. in 1994--Murray commentates on the evolution of soccer from pastto present. Attention is paid to all aspects of the game, ranging fromAmerica's ambivalent attitude toward professional soccer to theprogress of the women's game to the threat of hooliganism. The groundcovered is vast, but Murray's readable style will be appreciated byanyone who has a passion for the game, and will inspire interest inthose who know little about it.--Jeremy Storey ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The World's Game: A HISTORY OF SOCCER (Illinois History of Sports)
Very pleased with how fast I recieved the book.It was in wonderful shape

5-0 out of 5 stars A great overview of soccer history.
Unlike other soccer books which can be narrow in scope and range, Murray's book attempts to take us beyond the borders of South America and Europe and examines soccer all over the world. It also examines political and social affiliations attached to the game. The appendix has major soccer disasters covered,tragedies involving players,major soccer grounds,FIFA membership,Soccer at the Olympic Games before 1930,The Growth of the World Cup,and The Growth of Various Youth Tournaments. It also has a useful Glossary which is a must for any observer, casual or hardcore fan of the game. It would be a good introductory book for someone learning about soccer history because it has plenty of useful anecdotes that illustrates the game's colorful and controversial history.

4-0 out of 5 stars This book was great!
After having played soccer for years, it wasamazing to see how much I didn't now about the history of the sport. Now that my daughter is absorbing everything soccer, this book has helped. She is preparing to do areport on soccer and it's history. I am sure she'll do great! ... Read more

5. Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics
by Jonathan Wilson
Paperback: 384 Pages (2009-08-04)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1409102041
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Soccer fans love to argue about the tactics a manager puts into play, and this fascinating study traces the world history of tactics, from modern pioneers right back to the beginning, where chaos reigned. Along the way, author Jonathan Wilson, an erudite and detailed writer who never loses a sense of the grand narrative sweep, takes a look at the lives of the great players and thinkers who shaped the game, and discovers why the English in particular have proved themselves so “unwilling to grapple with the abstract.” This is a modern classic of soccer writing that followers of the game will dip into again and again.



... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Truly a History of Football Tactics
I purchased this book to learn more about the development of tactics over the years, and that is exactly what I got. This book is truly a "history", as it discusses many people, places, and social contexts as it explains the changes in tactics. This is not a quick and easy read like some current books on soccer, but for the fan who truly loves not only watching the game, but thinking and learning about it, this is a good read. The main reason I gave this 4 instead of 5 stars is that I would have enjoyed more depth at some points regarding specific individuals. There is some of this, but I wanted a bit more. Still, I recommend this book to the passionate and thoughtful fan of the beautiful game.

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific, thorough, readable
Highly recommended to anyone who approaches sports with an intellectual point of view. Wilson creates a linear path from the game's founding to the tactics of today. Excellent book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Accesible, Enjoyable, Illuminating read
This is an excellent, highly readable and enjoyable book on the evolution of football tactics.Whilst expanding any readers historical knowledge of the game it will also greatly increase the readers understanding and appreciation of the modern game.The book weaves in stories of players, personalities, managers and historical events with tactical/formation diagrams and descriptions of the way key historical games and teams played.

It is written in such a way that it is very accessible, it is not a essay or lecture, and it keeps its subject matter interesting at all times. You don't need any advanced understanding of the game of football to enjoy this book.In short - don't be put off if you think this book may be too technical or too dry a subject. The writing style and structure easily avoid any such pitfalls.

Although this book is not a coaching manual it can play a role in any coaches collection as it provides a wonderful insight into some of the methods of play and pros and cons of various systems. I have found this book to be an important reference both with coaching and increasing my enjoyment in watching professional games.

3-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, but a seriously flawed masterpiece
This book is admirable for its erudition and its focus on the evolution of tactics from the playing fields of nineteenth century public schools to the present. One really must admire a British specialist who digs into the entire global picture of football and comes up with a relatively comprehensible narrative out of what must have been reams of club histories and match reports that probably contain very little of the information the author seeks. It is readable, informative and occasionally funny. Here comes the "but". Quality really declines toward the end, as if the author was rushing to meet a publishing deadline or simply outsourced the job to a football fan with a bizarre form of Tourrette's that forces him to spout senseless combinations of numbers such as "3-3-3-1, 4-5-1, 3-4-1-2". The next-to-last chapter is completely unreadable. Whereas other chapters developed the story of a single innovator or the situation in a single country, this one just rushed through a myriad of modern formations and discusses sweeping issues such as the disappearance of the playmaker. Another late chapter devotes incomprehensible amounts of space to an obscure polemic between a football statistician and a future England coach. The central narrative is lost completely, which is tied to another central weakness: the lack of occasional paragraphs to sum up the evolution of tactics as the long procession of teams, coaches and players parade through the foreground of the book and just as quickly disappear from view. The title "Inverting the Pyramid" is a brilliant example of this: it sums up an immense amount of information into a neat little compact literary phrase, but that kind of brilliance is somewhat absent from the rest of the book. In short, I enjoyed the book, I learned a lot from it and I will probably return to it frequently after matches, but it really could have used a little more tidying up from an editor (hopefully in a future edition).

4-0 out of 5 stars Just in time for the World Cup
I ordered this book to help me become more knowledgeable about the sport, and that has worked.I better understand the tactics and the demands placed on individual players based on their position and the formation.Good history of theevolution of the game, as well as the great coaches and great players.
With exactly one month until the start of the World Cup, I feel I will have more insight to what I'll be watching. ... Read more

6. Soccer 365 Days
by Christian Eichler
Hardcover: 744 Pages (2006-04-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$1.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810959194
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Soccer's 2006 World Cup is months away, and the buildup is already captivating fans. In North America, interest in the game has never been higher: The U.S. team stormed through qualifiers for next year's tournament in Germany; movies like Bend It Like Beckham are endearing the sport to a new generation; youth soccer programs are flourishing; and the 12 Major League Soccer franchises are attracting unprecedented crowds.

Just in time for the global frenzy surrounding next summer's finals, Soccer 365 Days captures the most exciting, pivotal moments of World Cup action in words, statistics, and nearly 600 photographs. Superstars profiled include Franz Beckenbauer, Ronaldo, Zinédine Zidane, Diego Maradona, Michel Platini, David Beckham, Claudio Reyna, Earnie Stewart, and Pelé. A great Father's Day gift, it's the perfect primer for anyone gripped by World Cup fever. ... Read more

7. Soccer in a Football World: The Story of America's Forgotten Game (Sporting)
by David Wangerin
Paperback: 352 Pages (2008-03-28)
list price: US$20.95 -- used & new: US$12.88
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Asin: 1592138853
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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David Wangerin's humorous and thorough book tells the story of American soccer's long struggle from the brief promise of the 1920's, through the euphoric highs and extravagant follies of the North American Soccer League, to today's hard-won acceptance.
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Red, White and Blue Soccer!
If you are a fan of the US National Team or MLS, you honestly owe it to yourself to read this.

This book is about our American game. Now, the Canadians likewise and others call it soccer, the National Team of Australia are the Socceroos so we aren't exactly alone in calling it soccer. I feel more like calling it soccer after reading this book. Soccer!

The author David Wangerin does his homework on the long and often patchy history of soccer in the US. My favorite part of the book was in the evolution of the game in the 1920s and 1930s. Indeed, soccer was vying to be one of the top sports in the US, along with American football ("gridiron" as the author and much of the world call it) and baseball. The depression hurt soccer's attempts to become as big as these other sports back then but within pockets of the US, there was acceptance. Wangerin enumerates on the teams and leagues of the past and we are able to look it up and find out more. Amazingly, besides some very poorly attended games sometimes, a few of the old pro games even saw pitch invasions and near riots, here in the Land of the Free, would you have imagined that? Wangerin seems to often quote attendances as a barometer of the popularity of the sport, maybe an over reliance on that too, it appears to be from a large part of his research that is taken from reading newspaper articles and spending long hours in the library.

Many of the assertions and stories by the author are in fact, concepts we vaguely knew about such as St. Louis being a hotbed for real red-blooded American "Yank" soccer back in the day. He clarifies the history. Though I do believe the author does his homework, when history reaches this far back, we often accept his word but I don't think it hurts to do one's own research on the subject.

His observations are very astute. As an example, he does talk about how the NFL has sought to expand itself into the European market with a European league that has basically flopped twice. What is the problem with this? It seems to be that the fans in places like London would indeed rather watch our top American NFL teams like New England or Dallas or whomever is at the top rather than watch a Euro team that is not going to be close to the quality of those in the USA. Aren't many American soccer fans the same way in being fans of Liverpool or Real Madrid or AC Milan or whichever squad versus cheering for the homegrown LA Galaxy or Columbus Crew type American teams? Yes. So here in this book, we see in some ways, how the old adage is true, "the more things change, the more things stay the same" meaning that we've had a whole series of soccer leagues going back to at least the 1910s but rarely having long term success. The MLS, set up partially in regards to the 1994 World Cup held in the USA (this was done to placate FIFA) has had a gradual growth from careful planning. Still, make no mistake about it, the MLS, Major League Soccer does have struggles it endures as a professional sport.

The woman's game is indeed treated very well, with it's own chapter considering basically history starting with that gender's world cup in the 1990s. Indeed, history in the woman's game before this could have been examined but his coverage is still rather detailed except for that.

A bit on the same note of coverage, the college game is talked about time and again in this book, while not covering it in depth.

The history of our National Team is basically well covered in it's highs such as the 1950 Belo Horizonte game in Brazil along with the low points and that seemed to be the rule rather than exception over the years prior to 1990. It is amazing, that at times, the history of our National team has rag tag records where maybe all games they have played are not even properly recorded anywhere. Pan Am games in 1958 anyone? Admirably, for a long time, the USSF, US Soccer Federation was it's own autonomous organization without government funding or other aid.

What more can I say?? I'm going to support MLS and other American leagues even more so now. I always thought it was a good brand of soccer but I am even more convinced to support these teams. It's important too in the long run and is Americanized versus what the NASL largely was with it's foreign stars.

In short and in my experience of reading some dozens of books on soccer/football, this one stands out and surely should be read by every fan of the American game. It's coverage is comprehensive including other items such as the origins of the US game and the annual Open Cup in the US. Every detail you can imagine is covered.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Good History of the Game in America
This book provides a great look into the history of the American game. Other books (Soccerhead being one of the better examples) have provided short outlines of pre-NASL soccer, but Wangerin is successful at seeking out the distant past of American soccer and provides as indepth a history as anyone will probably ever do. One of his main arguments, that while soccer may never be big in America, it's never been a better time for American soccer, is well proved throughout the book's tales of organizational infighting and inexplicable decisions by almost everyone involved in the sport at its highest levels in the US. This book winds up serving not only as a recounting of the past, but also a warning for the future so that American soccer never falls back into the depths of despair it has in the past.

The few issues I have with the book are that little attention is given to the women's game (roughly 12 pages in the 300+ page book), and it feels that Wangerin rushes through the post-1994 history, only hitting some major talking points of the 1998 and 2002 World Cups and some brief history of MLS. Also, very little is mentioned about the US Youth National Teams. I would also like to suggest that eventually this book be updated, since it ends around 2005. The back of the book mentions David Beckham's move to the US with the LA Galaxy, but the book ends its look at the sport in America before Beckham arrival.

With that being said, anyone interested in soccer in America should definitely check this out.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book on American soccer
Many people think that the history of soccer in the United States dates back to around the time that Pele arrived in New York in 1975. This magnificent book very firmly refutes that idea, giving a full account of the sport's history in this country dating back to its 19th-century origins.
---Roger Allaway, Historian, National Soccer Hall of Fame ... Read more

8. Soccer's Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Clumsy Keepers, Clever Crosses, and Outlandish Oddities
by John Snyder
Paperback: 304 Pages (2001-10-15)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$3.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1574883658
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
-Delivers little-known facts and funny anecdotes about soccer from the early days of the game to the present.

-Arranged in sixty top-ten lists, many of the 600 stories are published here for the first time.

-Covers World Cup soccer as well as leagues from around the globe.

Ernie Brandts of the Netherlands scored a goal for each team and injured his own goalkeeper in a 1978 World Cup match against Italy.Liverpool's Robbie Fowler was suspended for four games and fined for pretending to snort the white chalk endline while celebrating a goal.In 1970, after El Salvador defeated Honduras in a World Cup qualifying match, the two countries severed diplomatic relations, and a four-day "Soccer War" broke out, in which more than 10,000 people died.A 1995 mtch in South Africa between the host Moroka Swallows and the Qwa Qwa Stars was delayed after the visiting team accused the host of using magical powers against them.

SOCCER'S MOST WANTED features the most outrageous players, the oddest injuries, the strangest matches, the most fantastic finishes, the greatest champions, and them ost inept teams.In short, it covers the best and worst moments in the history of world soccer.Die-hard fans as well as newcomers to the sport will enjoy this irreverent guide to soccer trivia. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

2-0 out of 5 stars Boring soccer facts
I ordered this book for a graduate of a school where I buy books for each student reflecting their interests.I thought this book sounded good and the editorial reviews made it sound like it would be a good choice.I was quite disappointed when it arrived.I found little of entertainment value.Most of the items were boring and cut and dried facts, not the sort of amusing and interesting items cited in the editorial.I'm returning the book in favor of two other books in the same price range that I would recommend:Magnum Soccer, and World Cup stories.I might suggest that people who are major soccer fans and enjoy soccer facts might like to have this book.But if you are looking for the kind of fun information that is indicated in the title and the reviews, you will probably be disappointed. ... Read more

9. Winning at All Costs: A Scandalous History of Italian Soccer
by John Foot
Paperback: 624 Pages (2007-08-24)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568583680
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The 2006 World Cup final between Italy and France was a down-and-dirty game, marred by French superstar Zidane's head-butting of Italian defender Materazzi. But viewers were also exposed to the poetry, force, and excellence of the Italian game; as operatic as Verdi and as cunning as Machiavelli, it seemed to open a window into the Italian soul. John Foot's epic history shows what makes Italian soccer so unique. Mixing serious analysis and comic storytelling, Foot describes its humble origins in northern Italy in the 1890s to its present day incarnation where soccer is the national civic religion. A story that is reminiscent of Gangs of New York and A Clockwork Orange, Foot shows how the Italian game — like its political culture — has been overshadowed by big business, violence, conspiracy, and tragedy, how demagogues like Benito Mussolini and Silvio Berlusconi have used the game to further their own political ambitions. But Winning at All Costs also celebrates the sweet moments — the four World Cup victories, the success of Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan, the role soccer played in the resistance to Nazism, and the great managers and players who show that Italian soccer is as irresistible as Italy itself.
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Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Comprehensive and Informative
This book was a very comprehensive description of Italian Soccer.It was a long book but written in a way that it was easy to read, stayed entertaining and flowed well.
My criticism is that it would be nice if the book was not so focused on the dark side of Italian soccer.This is the third book on Italian soccer and they all emphasize the negativity of the game in Italy.
As this book well describes, Italy is a wonderful country and a has beautiful Calcio culture.I would like to see the negative side of the game explained as more of a side note as opposed to the main theme used to describe Italian Soccer.
This being said, Winning at All Costs is probably the most complete book I have ever read on soccer.If you read this book from cover to cover, you will truly understand much about Italian soccer and the game in general.

5-0 out of 5 stars Expose of the culture of cheating in Italian soccer.
1st, Have AC Milan and Juventus been relegated for match-fixing, in fact, CHEATING? Yes or No friends. Yes, they have, 2 of the 3 biggest teams in Italy and this really sets the tone of this book.

In 2006, Americans stared at their tv screens aghast when the Italian player Rossi elbowed and bloodied our own Brian McBride of the USA team, the thing is, this was not an isolated incident, rewind to 1994 and it is almost the same play as the Italian Tassoti elbowed Luis Enriquez of Spain in the 1994 World Cup held in the USA, Enriquez's nose was broken and blood poured down on his shirt. This was the only way the Italians could win.

In talking about 2 of the top 3 teams in Italian league history, in fact, Brian Glanville uncovered that the 3rd, Inter Milan even bribed to try to win the Champions League in the '60s/'70s era, that brings the number to 3 and one of AC Milan's champions league wins, ho-hum, at least 1 of them were bought in this way but the truth is that Juventus (vs. Derby County, thank goodness Dutch power Ajax defeated them in the final) and Inter also sought these ill-gotten gains. It makes one wonder, how much do we not even know.

It's obviously not quite a level playing field, when we see the Dutch or the Brazilians play beautiful soccer, as the Dutch destroyed Italy 3-0 in the 2008 Euro Cup, but the display of soccer was so great, compare this to how the Italians could only win the 2006 World Cup, diving against Australia and against France, getting one of the best players ever Zidane, sent off. Even more is conjectured upon.

In 1934, the World Cup held in Italy was fixed by the Duce himself. Furthermore, now it is even seen, that trophy is invalid because Italy played ineligible players, players from Argentina, the truth in history shows if this is researched, Argentina in fact, boycotted that tournament.

1938 is open to questions as well, though the case is mainly what some Brazilians say that one of their all-time greats Leônidas was threatened if he played.

UEFA, the European governing body has implemented rules now, where a team such as AC Milan who won the champions league a few years ago, would now have been ineligible if their dealings were in question. Of course, these Italian teams were discovered to be involved in a large gambling scandal known as Calciopoli. Even in the early '80s, AC Milan was relegated as Juventus has been.

1982 did indeed see a triumphant Azzurri win the World Cup and that team rightfully is hailed as one of the better World Cup teams ever. We would still do right to remember, its star player Paolo Rossi was involved in a betting scandal. Though years later he'd claim innocence, can we really accept what is said even? Likewise, we'd do well to remember, West Germany, themselves participants in some low-points of the World Cup in fact, colluded with Austria to draw which saw both of the neighbors advance at the expense of eliminating Algeria who had defeated the West Germans in an all-time World Cup upset. Likewise, the West Germany/France game of 1982 was marred with an unpunished brutal tackle by the West German goalkeeper Schumacher. 2 years later, France won the Euro Cup and one has to wonder if the best teams advanced in some games in the 1982 World Cup.

Even the highly regarded The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy by Joel McGinnis, yes, I think the same person who is trying to move in next to Sarah Palin talks plenty of the common place of corruption in Italian football/soccer. Recommended for further reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent history of Italien football
This is themost comprehensive history of Italian football spanning from the very beginnings until today I have seen so far. It incorporates even the 2006 scandals and Worldcup 2006. Excellent read.
In case you are a Tifoso of Italian football this is a must for your library.It rate it even higher than Birgit Schönau:Calcio: Die Italiener und ihr Fußball (The Italiens and their football) written in German.

3-0 out of 5 stars great book but looks like a re-release
This looks almost a chapter by chapter re-release of Calcio by the same author. Maybe it's updated and as good as that book was, why the different title?

Not sure what the scoop is with this but it is a five-star read. Only problem is why come out with the same book under a different title? I just don't get that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Italian Football history
Have only just started to read this book and already I am impressed with the way it flows. Cant wait to get to the more recent history facts. Good stuff. ... Read more

10. The Reduced History of Football: The Story of the World's Greatest Game Freshly Squeezed into 90 Minutes
by Justyn Barnes, Aubrey Ganguly
Hardcover: 128 Pages (2006-08-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$2.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0233000771
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This is the tale of the great game of football—soccer to the Americans—as it's never been presented in history: a side-splitting collection of match reports, correspondence, and reminiscences from pundits, commentators, players, officials, and spectators who weren't there but should have been. Here, a Victorian public school headmaster bemoans the advent of soccer, PC Scory records the altercations at the White Horse Cup Final in his notebook, the Russian linesman has second thoughts about Geoff Hurst's equalizer, God berates the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires about Maradona's claims of divine intervention, and David Beckham's hairdresser provides David Seaman with coiffeur tips in the aftermath of the England's World Cup 2002 exit. For the first time, the nutmegs, the tantrums, and the penalty-shootouts that have provided the ubiquitous topic of male conversation for generations are all entertainingly evoked.
... Read more

11. The History of the World Cup 2010 Edition (Non-fiction)
by Brian Glanville
Audio CD: 1 Pages (2010-04-06)
list price: US$28.98 -- used & new: US$17.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9626349301
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This lively history of the world's greatest sporting event outside the Olympics is told by veteran soccer journalist and historian Brian Glanville and read by the former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson. There is a full account of each of the Finals since the first event in 1922 - the goals, the controversies, the rivalries - with the national anthems of each host country setting the scene all the way to the 2006 event in Germany. A spectacular addition is the personal view of one of the great heroes of the game, Sir Bobby Charlton, who speaks eloquently of his passion for the event and the game itself. ... Read more

12. Soccer: A History of the World's Most Popular Game (The Watts History of Sports)
by Mark Stewart
Library Binding: 128 Pages (1998-03)
list price: US$34.50 -- used & new: US$14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0531114562
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A comprehensive history of soccer, focusing on its evolution, momentous events, and key personalities. ... Read more

13. African Soccerscapes: How a Continent Changed the World's Game (Ohio Africa in World History)
by Peter Alegi
Paperback: 184 Pages (2010-03-02)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$22.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0896802787
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From Accra and Algiers to Zanzibar and Zululand, African football today reflects the history and culture of those who play the game and how they have shaped it in a distinctively African manner. Football may obey global rules, but the influence of magicians and healers, the nurturing of different tactics and styles of play, and local forms of spectatorship give football in the continent a cultural and sporting imprint all of its own . In African Soccerscapes Peter Alegi explores how football was influenced by colonialism, the growth of cities, independence, and global capitalism. Regional differences and the links between sport, culture and politics feature prominently in his book. In the independent era football offered a rare form of 'national culture' in ethnically diverse nations and symbolized pan-African unity and solidarity through the anti-apartheid struggle and the campaign for more guaranteed places for African teams in the World Cup finals.Huge numbers of Africans play overseas, disproportionately rewarding European leagues at Africa's expense, and this phenomenon is discussed, as are the recent privatization of the African game, football development programs and the growth of women's football. ... Read more

14. The Encyclopedia of American Soccer History
by Roger Allaway
Hardcover: 496 Pages (2001-02-07)
list price: US$67.00
Isbn: 0810839806
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Many believe that soccer's popularity in the United States is a recent phenomenon, that Pele introduced the sport to the U.S. market. Soccer has in fact enjoyed a long and illustrious history in this country. This book examines American soccer from the 1860s up through the 1999 Women's World Cup and the 1999 MLS season. Entries are present for the many professional and semi-professional leagues that have existed since the 1890s and their great players, teams, and coaches. Important cup competitions, national teams, and major international competitions are also noted. Over two hundred individuals who have contributed to American soccer - coaches, players, administrators, and referees - also have entries. This book is intended to fill a gap in the recorded history of the game in the United States. It is intended as a reference resource for sports scholars, but is also of interest to the ardent soccer fan. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Long Overdue
The Encyclopedia of American Soccer History is a long-overdue addition to the neglected story of soccer in the United States.While it may surprise many, American soccer history begins long before Pele.This book fills in many of the details of this largely forgotten history.The book is arranged as an encyclopedia, with hundreds of alphabetically arranged entries on different topics, including teams, players, cups, leagues, etc.The authors, Roger Allaway, Colin Jose and David Litterer are the triumvirate of North American soccer historians -- clearly the right men for the job of compiling this history. ... Read more

15. History of Sports - Soccer
by Gail B. Stewart
 Hardcover: 95 Pages (2000-09-01)
list price: US$28.70 -- used & new: US$24.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1560067128
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It is the world's most popular (and most widely-played) sport.Soccer is growing faster in the U.S. than any other.In this volume, the game's beginnings are examined, as well as the evolution of rules, issues and problems surrounding soccer, as well as its most notable influences. (20020901) ... Read more

16. The rainbow game: A random history of South African soccer
 Paperback: 191 Pages (1998)

Isbn: 0620224797
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17. History of the Soccer World Cup
by Glanville
 Paperback: Pages (1974-04)
list price: US$4.95
Isbn: 0020288409
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18. A pictorial history of soccer
by Dennis Signy
 Hardcover: 316 Pages (1971)

Isbn: 0600369781
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19. Cassell Soccer Companion: History, Facts, Anectodes
by David Pickering
Paperback: 384 Pages (1999-06)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$24.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0304350974
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Editorial Review

Product Description
An A-Z guide to soccer, this updated edition includes coverage of the 1997 season. It provides information such as club histories, grounds, competitions and players' careers, together with miscellaneous topics such as nicknames, dogs, superstitions, riots and disasters. ... Read more

20. Belles of the Ball: The Early History of Women's Soccer
by David J. Williamson
 Mass Market Paperback: 120 Pages (1991-10)
-- used & new: US$34.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0951751204
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