I was given the book “How Soccer Explains the World” as a present by Luca & her mother about 2 months ago. They bought it in the London bookshop Daunt Books, and it came with a bookmark of the shop… impressive. Take a virtual tour around the book shop, it definitely deserves a stop in the next visit to London.
The book… since I have been questioned about it many times: no, soccer does not explain the World. However, it is a very interesting book drawing parallels about historical moments in recent history and how they were connected with football issues going on at the moment in the same places.
The first chapter for example tells about Serbian paramilitary groups, their connection with football and how they were instrumental in the Yugoslavian wars. In that chapter you read lots of names that ring a bell from having followed football recently: Obilic, Arkan, the great Red Star of 1991 (Prosinecki), Ognjenovic (a singing of Real Madrid), Zvonimir Boban… all these names let the reader connect with the story. In my case, having been in these locations and having good friends from both Serbia and Croatia increased the interest of it.
There are other chapters that may draw the attention of many: a whole chapter dedicated to F.C. Barcelona (the favourite team of the writer, Franklin Foer… an American, you see), other to Celtic-Rangers rivalry, disdain for soccer in the USA, Ajax, racism in football…
I recommend this book, especially in times of a World Cup.