Daniel's Reviews > The Soccer War

The Soccer War by Ryszard Kapuściński
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's review
Jan 19, 09

Read in January, 2009

An insightful view from a reporter at ground level for the coups and uprisings across various third world nations focusing primarily on the rise and fall of Kwame Nkruma of Ghana, Sekou Toure of Guinea and Patrice Lumuma of Congo. Kapuszinski time and again focuses on the absurdity of war and on how these regionalized conflicts never truly solve the underlying disputes but rather become self-perpetuating circles of violence claiming untold numbers of victims. The best case in point seems to be the conflict that the author witnesses along the border between Honduras and El Salvador where local disputes about immigration, resources, and class politics manifest themselves in a full-fledged battle costing thousands of lives after a series of soccer games turn ugly. As a reporter, Kapuscinski always seems on the verge of meeting his fate at the hands of one side or the other. But it's his willingness to put his life on the line that gives his rhetoric unassailable credibility. And by the way, he's an incredible story-teller to boot. Anyone studying cold war politics should make this part of their program just to make sure that the consequences of the era's failed policy decisions aren't properly discussed in relevant texts.

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