Chris McClinch's Reviews > How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization

How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer
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Feb 13, 2011

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Read in February, 2011

I'm a sucker for books with this premise: using X as a lens, explain world history or sociology in a way I'd never really thought about it before. Some of these books leave indelible marks, and others overreach, never really living up to their premise. For the most part, I thought How Soccer Explains the World overreached. Franklin Foer is an engaging writer, but many chapters had difficulty moving beyond the pitch to truly address a society at large. Still, at its best--in exploring the role soccer hooligans played in the bloodshed in the former Yugoslavia, in describing how rampant corruption has led to a paradoxical situation in which Brazil produces some of the greatest soccer players on earth but has unwatchable professional leagues, or in showing how soccer has been responsible for weakening repressive Islamic law in Iran--the book shows flashes of fulfilling its premise. These chapters were fantastic and left me wanting to read more. Unfortunately, too many of the others never really moved far beyond soccer culture itself. I enjoyed reading this, but would recommend Fever Pitch or Soccernomics over How Soccer Explains the world.

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message 1: by Ally (new)

Ally Armistead This part sounds the most fascinating: "...or in showing how soccer has been responsible for weakening repressive Islamic law in Iran...." Good review!

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