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Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power
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Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,784 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Soccer is much more than just the most popular game in the world. It is a matter of life and death for millions around the world, an international lingua franca. Simon Kuper traveled to twenty-two countries to discover the sometimes bizarre effect soccer can have on politics and culture. At the same time he tried to discover what makes different countries play a simple gam ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published April 28th 2006 by Nation Books (first published 1994)
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Fever Pitch by Nick HornbyInverting the Pyramid by Jonathan  WilsonBrilliant Orange by David WinnerThe Damned Utd by David PeaceSoccernomics by Simon Kuper
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26th out of 206 books — 187 voters
Soccernomics by Simon KuperBrilliant Orange by David WinnerInverting the Pyramid by Jonathan  WilsonHow Soccer Explains the World by Franklin FoerThe Ball is Round by David Goldblatt
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bahar
یکی از معدود کتاب های مفصلی که من رو پای خودش نشوند و یه کاری کرد که برای خوندش وقت بذارم! حتی اگه کسی فوتبال دوست نداره خوندن این کتاب میتونه براش جذاب باشه چون همه چیزش کاملا مستند و واقعی و جامعه شناختیه!
mohsen pourramezani
سایمون کوپر، خبرنگار جوانِ بیست و دو/سه سالهی انگلیسی به 22 کشور سفر کرده و مشاهدات و تحلیلهایش در رابطهی فوتبال با سیاست را در این کتاب منتشر کرده است.
هیچ علاقهای به فوتبال ندارم ولی با این حال به نظرم کتاب بدی نبود. البته باعث نشد که به فوتبال علاقهمند شوم.
به نظرم بعضی از پانوشتهایش زیادی بود و فرودوسیپور مثل گزارشهای فوتبالیاش سعی میکرد در مورد هر چیزی به خواننده اطلاعات بدهد. مثلا توی متن یکی از گزارشها اسمی از چخوف، داستایوفسکی و نویسندههای معروف دیگر آمده بود و فردوسیپور توی پانویس چندخط ا
...more
Amir
کتابی بود که به خواندنش میارزید ولی به خریدنش نه. و فکر میکنم علاقه داشتن یا نداشتن به فوتبال چندان تأثیری در خوشایند بودن کتاب نداشته باشد.
بینظیرترین و خواندنیترین فصل کتاب برای من فصل سوم با عنوان «مخالف فوتبال» بود که به زندگی یک عشق فوتبال بهنام کلابفلایش در برلین شرقی تا زمان سقوط دیوار میپرداخت. حکایت زندگی او در چنان جامعهی بستهای، و بلاهایی که صرفن بهخاطر علاقه به تیم آلمان غربی از سوی دستگاه اطلاعاتی مخوف آلمان شرقی بر سرش آمده بود فوقالعاده تکاندهنده -و البته برای ما تاحدود زیادی ملمو
...more
Marco
A beautiful book about the connections between soccer, politics and culture around the world.
Kirsten
I wish I could give this book a higher rating, as I like the premise and I enjoy Kuper's style and often witty insight. But there are two major reasons I can't.
First, the US edition could have stood for some better editing. It seems someone went through a document and did a find and replace for the word "football." The problem is, "football" refers to both the sport and the actual ball, and the editor didn't go through the tedium of re-reading to add the word ball where necessary. This results i
...more
Tahazen
As a huge football supporter (I refuse to say soccer) -- this book is very disappointing. Don't read it.

This book was written in 1994, and reading it nearly 20 years later -- it is grossly outdated (even with the updates in 2006).

I had to put the book down 30 pages in because it was so dire. I skimmed through other sections just to see if it was just as bad -- and it was. The writing is uninteresting and the stories are tiresome. Celtic is Catholic and Rangers are Protestant...you don't say? Be
...more
Elliott Turner
This book has aged super well. We are spoiled by websites dedicated to niches of soccer culture, but two decades ago Simon Kuper shelled out five thousand pounds to travel the then still large world. He interviewed generals, dissidents, and association presidents. He caught games on different continents and traveled like a pauper.

The pacing is breathtaking, the descriptions detailed, and the characters vivid. Even if his conclusions are not so amazing (soccer is a window into a nation's politic
...more
Elizabeth
This book was absolute torture. I had to read it in pieces (and only a couple of pages at a time in order to get through it). While he definitely has interesting anecdotes about the relationship between soccer and politics, and some amusing facts about various national soccer histories, to say the book left something to be desired is an understatement. The title was a complete misnomer. My only comfort three months in to reading the book: the second half of the book was considerably less awful t ...more
Rich Saskal
Had the strange temporal distortion of reading this book, researched in the early 1990s, during the 2014 World Cup. As the author readily admits in a preface to a later edition, the internet and globalization have in many ways overtaken his thesis, rooted in the difference of different 'footballing cultures' and political cultures. Footballing culture, in terms of tactics et al, has been a bit more malleable, but as events in Egypt have shown, the sport still can have incendiary impact in a revo ...more
Kahn
Maybe the passing of the years haven't been kind to this 1994 book, but in this day and age discovering goings on behind the scenes or that the beautiful game has been manipulated to suit those in power isn't that big a shock.
What does hold up, however, is Simon Kuper's genuine interest in football in different parts of the world. I question that he attempts to show what makes each country play the game the way they do, but at the time of writing he was clearly keen on understanding what attract
...more
Andrey
When this book first came out in 1994, The Times wrote: "If you like football read it. If you don't like football read it". This may have been true then, but reading it 20 years later, one immediatley notices that some of the stories told, probably quite novel back then, have with time transformed into common knowledge. Nowadays even people remotely interested in football know almost everything that is to know about the German/Dutch rivalry and the mafia connections of big Ukrainian clubs. Howev ...more
Matt
First of all, don't read this. It just isn't worth your time. And I'm not saying that because I hated it or that I hate the author - Simon Kuper's book Soccernomics is excellent - but because it just doesn't deliver what it promises. I was going to give this one star until I made it to the final chapter, which was written probably about a decade after the rest of the book. It's the only one that doesn't fixate on Kuper's own irrelevant travels and interviews, and rather deals with the subject at ...more
Paul Haspel
Soccer has the most widespread appeal of any sport on Earth; everyone knows that. What may not be as readily apparent – especially in countries like the United States and Canada, where soccer lags in popularity behind football, baseball, basketball, and hockey – is how strongly soccer can influence social, cultural, and political life in the countries where it is most popular. Simon Kuper’s Soccer Against the Enemy takes to the pitch with the intent of exploring that often-overlooked aspect of t ...more
Y.
A tagline na capa deste livro diz "If you like football read it. If you don't like football read it", e é bem verdade. Sempre fui um bocado desconfiado em relação à mistura entre estes dois mundos (o futebol e a literatura), mas este livro é muito, muito bom.

O autor, Simon Kuper, é um jornalista desportivo que percorreu 22 países no início da década de 90 tentando perceber de que modo o futebol influenciou os aspectos políticos e culturais de cada país (e vice-versa). Foi uma altura boa para faz
...more
Thomas
Enjoyable read, though you get the impression it could have used a little more attention from an editor. There are a couple instances where the word football was carelessly replaced with soccer, which is fine, as it is an American edition. However, football can refer to the sport or to the ball used in the sport, and in those instances, the word "ball" is missing. Careless. One other editorial qualm - as a book written in the early 90s, the references to football are a bit static, and very much ...more
M.
A question I'm often asked from friends and acquaintances, specially with my other interests, is why I like football that much. One side is because it's involved with many things around us; in addition to strategies, chess-like tactics, and drama, it involves economy, specially nowadays, and more interestingly, politics; which is what the book discusses. The writer takes us for a journey from Eastern Europe to USA, from Latin America to Africa, to witness the interaction between football and pol ...more
Wes Freeman
Key book in the eminently readable soccer-as-socio/national-exegesis genre (see Among The Thugs and How Soccer Explains the World). Came out in the 90s so a lot of the articles herein are not as current as they could be, but as I know soccer about as well as I know astrophysics it didn't really matter. Cool book to read if you want to know more about soccer's international culture of fans and get the flavors of the national infrastructures that have grown up around them. I think the idea is that ...more
kasia
I'd picked up a copy of this awhile ago - amazon.com reviews of How Soccer Explains the World
said this was a far better book, so I bought it instead. Then, what with World Cup frenzy, it seemed like a good time to finally read it. In a sense, the book is exactly what you expect - a series of essays about the links between soccer, politics, local culture, etc. There's not really much surprising in it (to me at least), honestly, but there's plenty of interesting stuff there. However, I found mysel
...more
Robert
At one point in the narrative, when Simon Kuper is describing the book he ultimately wrote to an interviewee in Argentina, he says that he's working on a book about "soccer and politics." (Note: The use of soccer in that context is likely a publisher's edit for the American market; this happens throughout, occasionally to the point of altering meaning in the words. Find and replace is maybe not the best method of book editing.)

In any case, the Argentine being interviewed responds to Kuper's decl
...more
Donald
Reading this one was a weird experience for me. First off Kuper is an excellent writer and the stories he tells are very compelling. I enjoyed his writing here every bit as much as I enjoyed it in Soccernomics.

What kept throwing me was that I read this book about 15 years too late. Many of the people, places, and events that Kuper details are very much "of the time". That being the early 90's, the fall of the eastern bloc, the break-up of the Soviet Union, the recent end of apartheid in South Af
...more
Tim Roast
This is a book about football politics around the globe. It was written in the 92-94 period. It starts with a look at the Dutch national team and their hatred of the Germans. I wasn't very impressed by the initial chapter but after that the stories are excellent. The stories include a look at corruption at clubs in the former states of Russia and how East Germans would try and watch West German teams when the two countries were divided. In fact corruption is a theme that reappears in different c ...more
AreZoO (ShiRin)
سایمون کوپر به 22 کشور سفر کرد تا تاثیر گاه عجیب فوتبال بر سیاست و فرهنگ این کشورها را درک کند (یا شاید تاثیر سیاست و فرهنگ این کشورها بر فوتبالشون!). در عین حال تلاش کرد متوجه شود چه عاملی باعث میشود کشورهای مختلف این بازی ساده را اینقدر متفاوت بازی کنند.
فوتبال چیزی فراتر از محبوبترین بازی جهان است. برای میلیونها نفر فوتبال حکم مرگ و زندگی را دارد و یک زبان بین المللی است. فوتبال به تعبیر پله بازی زیبایی است که جنگ ها را آغاز میکند و به پایان میرساند، جرقه ی انقلابها را زده و خیلی از دیکتاتورها
...more
Adrienne
In Football Against the Enemy, Simon Kuper writes about the effects of soccer on the politics and culture of many different countries. I was particularly interested in the chapters on Brazil (they are truly a soccer powerhouse) and on the former Soviet Bloc countries, including Russia, where the soccer stadium was the one place that people could express their discontent with the state without being taken away or killed. (Incidentally, there used to be a lot of teams in Eastern Europe that had th ...more
Nadi kz
لازم نیست حتماً به فوتبال علاقه داشته باشین تا این کتاب رو بتونین بخونین !
اینجاس که میفهمین باید بین یه داور آماتور بودن و یه داور حرفه ای بودن انتخاب کنید !
دوست دارین جلو دروازه حریف وایسین و مثل بچه نق نقو ها برای تیمتون پنالتی بگیرین یا اینکه نه ، وسط زمین جوری سوت بزنین همه تیمتون رو شایستۀ قهرمانی بدونن ؟
marcus miller
Ways to capitalize on the World Cup - Take a book you wrote 14 years ago, write an introductory essay, a postscript, slap on a new cover, and wallah, you have a book you can get on the shelves around the time of the recent World Cup and make money with a limited amount of effort.

I enjoyed Kuper's "Soccernomics" and I did enjoy the new introductory essay but the bulk of the book seemed dated and much of the "analysis" seemed rather obvious. As Kuper himself points out in his postscript he was a
...more
Margaret Sankey
Although this is a decade old, it is a insightful personal study of how soccer (and sports in general) can become the means of expression for marginalized people, as well as a venue for organized crime, political distraction and ethnic hostility.
Natalie Hinman
Stands the test of time as an interesting cultural exploration via football - conducted on a budget few modern sports journos would nowadays consider. That said, I rue not having read it sooner; so fast does the football-sphere turn now, there are many points that are now somewhat redundant, albeit by no means un-interesting. It is more so... unsurprising... information, than anything. Via hindsight.
Really recommend all football fans read it. Kuper is an excellent writer and you will zoom throug
...more
Hind
Jul 23, 2007 Hind rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone who knows soccer history
Shelves: nonfiction
It took me forever to read this book, and ultimately, I didn't even finish it - a sign of sure boredom and irritation with the book. I simply didn't have the will to carry further. He writes with a dry British "wit" that fails to amuse and is quite tedious to slug through. He's writing for an audience that already knows the subject; to a novice like myself - knowing nothing of who's who, much less the intricacies of European and Latin American soccer in the 80s and 90s - this book was really tou ...more
melbourne
Though written twenty years ago, Kuper's book still holds a great deal of currency in the world of football. Some of the very same issues continue to be relevant.
Yusufology Abo Ȝalya
ده ملخص شخصي بالعامية المصرية لبعض النقاط التي يغطيها الكتاب:
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للأسف لم أتمكن من نشر الملخص نفسه هنا لوجود كلمات إنجليزية تسبب مشكلة عند القراءة
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