Friday, June 13, 2003

Not called soccer here
Will take a rest from politics today and propose a subject of far greater magnitude this summer off-season: football (or, if you prefer, "soccer"). Here is a link to a mildewed web article I wrote for Reason on football and the new world order just around the time of the 2002 World Cup--a competition I remember with great bitterness as one great team after another was knocked out by small fry. Particularly painful was Italy's elimination at the hands of South Korea, thanks to the refereeing of a certified Ecuadorian crook. I am utterly elitist when it comes to the sport and would regard a World Cup final between, let's say, Ghana and the Cook Islands as Armageddon.

I propose a short reading list of books on football, not all of which I have read, in anticipation of the coming season (at least in the northern hemisphere). Because of the damned small text boxes, this will roll over into another box below:

*** Alex Bellos' Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life, a rousing account of Brazilian football, and the sociology and stories surrounding it. Visit Alex's fine website for more on the subject. Incidentally, he's the Guardian's man in Rio.

*** Tim Parks' magnificent A Season with Verona, on his following the Verona football team around Italy when it was still playing in Serie A. Alas, Parks would spit on me as a Juventus supporter, but his book is the funniest thing I've read in years.

*** Eduardo Galeano's Soccer in Sun and Shadow. Haven't read it but my lefty friends swear by it.

*** Bill Buford's Among the Thugs, on his hanging around with football hooligans. Haven't read it yet, but it comes highly praised by Jonathan Raban and Martin Amis, who don't really strike me as football aficionados.

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