A sprawling, vibrant book about soccer in Argentina, a country where the sport is every bit as important and reflective of...



The history of soccer and its singular place in Argentine society.

Guardian and Sports Illustrated journalist Wilson (The Anatomy of Liverpool: A History in Ten Matches, 2013, etc.) is one of the most accomplished journalists and popular historians of soccer. In this ambitious book, he shows the development of Argentine soccer from the 19th century, when a large British expatriate community introduced it, through its spread across Argentina and its rapid emergence as the sport of the masses and to its place as one of the country’s most visible cultural phenomena. From the national team’s early (and still fertile) rivalry with Uruguay to its enduring struggle with Brazil for continental glory, Wilson explores not only the revered Albiceleste (named after the colors that make up the national team’s uniforms) and its many successes (and occasional droughts), but also the leagues and teams that Argentineans support and the players who have gone on to become international icons. These include superstars Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano, Diego Maradona, and Lionel Messi, all three of whom would be on just about any serious list of the top 10 players of all time. Wilson also interweaves the developments in Argentine soccer with larger trends in the country’s sometimes-optimistic, often tragic history. The author has a fine eye for detail and a solid grasp of the big picture. He writes confidently about the sport, including tactics and strategies, but also about social and political questions, and he reveals how the three have been inextricably linked over generations. In the run-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, a number of good books on Latin American soccer appeared, with most naturally focusing on the host nation. Here’s an insightful contribution about the other giant of Latin American soccer.

A sprawling, vibrant book about soccer in Argentina, a country where the sport is every bit as important and reflective of the society as it is anywhere in the world.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56858-551-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Nation Books

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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