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

Simon Kuper, Author . Nation $14.95 (302p) ISBN 978-1-56025-878-0

Kuper, a reporter for the Financial Times , delves deeply into the ways that soccer has become intertwined with the politics, philosophies and worldview of most of the planet's population. Originally published in the U.K. in 1994; this updated version includes chapters that refer to more recent events such as 9/11 and the U S. foray into Iraq. Sketching relations between Holland and Germany or Croatia and Serbia, Kuper describes a transglobal culture of fans, managers, players and political leaders engaged not only on the pitch but in the arenas of money, power and influence. Toward the end of this often slang-laden book, Kuper makes some useful observations: "the main allure of soccer to terrorists is the game's global reach." Indeed, Kuper quotes Osama bin Laden's biographer Yossef Bodansky stating that the deadly 1998 al-Qaeda attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were the direct result of a foiled plan to disrupt the World Cup competition earlier that year. Arresting stuff, but as a whole the appeal will be limited by the microscopic focus on the particulars of a sport whose professional teams haven't yet found mass appeal in the U.S. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/08/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Open Ebook - 337 pages - 978-0-7867-3635-5
Paperback - 433 pages - 978-1-4587-6166-8
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!