Brazil will be under enormous pressure to win this summer, and Uruguay and Argentina will be in the running. That will...




The most comprehensive history of soccer in the part of the world in which it may well mean the most.

Campomar, publishing director of Constable & Robinson in the U.K., provides a thorough, engaging history of the development of fútbol and its place in Latin American society. The author focuses mostly on the 20th century, when the game went from being an English import geared primarily toward British expatriates and elites to being the domain of the masses, who worshipped their heroes, condemned their goats, and filled the terraces for their club and national teams. Campomar also illustrates the way soccer reflected and sometimes fueled political developments across the region. He covers a large geographic swath including Mexico and Central America but gives the bulk of his attention to the countries of South America, where he interweaves the story of the local club game into that of the national teams, which have allowed the region to take its place, even if only for 90 or so minutes at a time, with the Europeans. Clearly timed for the summer’s World Cup in Brazil, the book illustrates how the Río de la Plata nations of Uruguay and Argentina represented the continent’s pre-eminent powers through the first half of the 20th century, with the Brazilians rising to dominance only in the 1950s. Campomar effectively brings out the color and passion for the game, its evocative language, its artistic power and its sometimes-martial ugliness. While the author occasionally tries to do too much, he accomplishes his task with verve.

Brazil will be under enormous pressure to win this summer, and Uruguay and Argentina will be in the running. That will provide opportunities for the updated paperback edition of this fine, scintillating history.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59448-586-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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