Saturday, August 9, 2014

Fútbol: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America, by Joshua H. Nadel

Fútbol!: Why Soccer Matters in Latin AmericaFútbol!: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America by Joshua H. Nadel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everyone who follows soccer knows that it's a really big deal in Latin America. But why, and why there?

I attended a reading by the author, who is local to me, the week this book was released, and knew at once that this is not a run-of-the-mill sports book. Nadel is a university professor of history, and his book contains as much Latin American history as it does soccer. You'll learn about the stadium in Chile used as a concentration camp, how soccer stabilized and destabilized governments, and how classism and racism were defined and defied by the game.

His writing is excellent, and while there is a lot of information here, a good history instructor knows to emphasize the story. You will learn more about how soccer caught on in Latin America and changed the narrative for Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Honduras, and Mexico. Vignettes on notable players past and present run through the text; you'll learn a bit more about some of the great names in the game.

Speaking to the author, his next project is on the history of women's soccer, to which he devotes a chapter in this book. I look forward to it.

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