Forza Italia: The Fall and Rise of Italian Football

Paddy Agnew, Author . Ebury Press $15.95 (332p) ISBN 978-0-09-190562-0

In 1985, Agnew and his girlfriend left their home and jobs in Ireland in search of adventure in a warmer clime. They settled in Italy, where she got a steady job teaching and he followed his dream of covering Italian football. Part memoir, part sports commentary, part political and cultural observations, these pedestrian fan's notes record the exciting and the sordid world of Italian football, including its relatively recent glory days of the 1990s. As he observes, football in Italy is currently undergoing a crisis, ranging from financial meltdown to match fixing and drug scandals, that reflects the wider political and social crisis afflicting the country. For example, Agnew chronicles the life of Diego Armando Maradona in the 1980s, one of Italy's greatest footballers of all time, whose penchant for drugs, sex and the fast life ruined his career. In spite of Maradona's shortcomings and eventual arrest on drug possession charges, Italians stood by their footballer, demonstrating just how strongly football is embedded in Italian culture. Agnew waxes poetic in his admiration for the game, concluding that it brings together the creative genius of Da Vinci, the fun of the carnavale and the elements of commedia dell'arte. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/25/2009
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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