The Ball Is Round by David Goldblatt

The Ball is Round- A Global History of Soccer

The Ball Is Round by David Goldblatt is a comprehensive and detailed look at the history of soccer, from its origins as a chaotic folk ritual to its current status as the world’s most popular sport.

The book starts in the early 1900s and goes up to the early 2000s, exploring how the game has evolved over time and how it has been shaped by different cultures and countries.

The book examines the tribal nature of the game, with its 11-on-11 battles on the field and 40,000-versus-40,000 battles off the field. It looks at the various rules and regulations that have been put in place over the years, from the banning of shin-kicking to the introduction of uniforms and school songs.

It also looks at the role of football in imperial conquest and global hegemony, and how it has become a metaphor for moral frameworks and political programs.

The book also looks at some of the darker aspects of the game, such as the violence between fans and players, and the injuries suffered by fans due to projectiles thrown from the other end of the fan base.

It also looks at the spread of the game across Africa, where there is no indigenous word for the ball.

Overall, The Ball Is Round is an insightful and comprehensive look at the history of soccer, and provides readers with a wealth of knowledge about the game.

What I Liked

Brilliant book; amazing writing; comprehensive but also fast-paced and readable. I still have it on my shelf and I’ve read his other books, especially his (amazing) history of the Olympics.

I also appreciated how much time he spent on the 1990s – where the global game truly exploded. I had no idea that what we know of as global soccer did not really start until very recently. It’s truly a child of globalization.

What I Did Not Like

It’s a bit long – but really nothing else. Great read.

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