Well-crafted insights about the many ways football reflects and challenges Latin American societies.




On the eve of the World Cup in Brazil comes an investigation of the meaning of fútbol, from Mexico to Cape Horn.

Soccer is the world’s sport, but nowhere does it seem to resonate more than in Latin America. Nadel (History and Global Studies/North Carolina Central Univ.) explores the intersections of sport and politics across that region. He does not quite explain why soccer matters, but he shows how the fact that it matters has had tremendous social consequence for more than a century. The author examines the role of soccer in many of the Latin American countries, from Mexico to Brazil (the unquestioned top dog in the region, if not the world) to Argentina to Uruguay. In addition to the introduction and epilogue, there are three brief “interludes” exploring the role of the media, professionalization and why Venezuelans embrace baseball. In the aptly titled chapter “Left Out,” Nadel investigates the region’s undervaluation of women’s soccer. In terms of soccer’s spread, while there were variations in each country, similar themes emerge. In the late 19th century, the game arrived from England, oftentimes imported by owners of companies or their workers, who wanted a hint of home in a foreign land. Early on, the main participants were (usually European) elites, but invariably, the game trickled down to the masses. Once the game became widespread, however, politicians, including the region’s despots, tried to use the game to control the polity. At the same time, that meant that soccer also became an ideal venue for political opposition. Nadel also explores issues such as race in Honduran soccer (a theme that he easily could have applied to several countries) and Mexico’s peculiar underachievement. The author manages to provide capsule histories of the region and soccer development without disrupting the strains of his argument.

Well-crafted insights about the many ways football reflects and challenges Latin American societies.

Pub Date: April 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8130-4938-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Univ. Press of Florida

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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