Share The Beautiful Game: 8 Great Soccer Books to Read In Between Matches

The Beautiful Game: 8 Great Soccer Books to Read In Between Matches

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The World Cup is in full swing! This has been by far the best World Cup I’ve had the pleasure of watching over the years. Usually, the group stage passes with one or two notable games while the knock-out stages present the tournament’s most memorable moments. But this year, almost every game has been a nail-biter, and results have often been determined in the final moments of play.

And the worst part is waiting in between matches, where for some reason life moves at a slower speed. These games can’t come fast enough! We at Off the Shelf understand this dilemma and offer what we’ll call a soccer bandaid: While you nervously and anxiously wait for the next game to kick-off, fuel your soccer enthusiasm and knowledge with these great books!


Among the Thugs
by Bill Buford

They have names like Barmy Bernie, Daft Donald, and Steamin' Sammy. They like lager (in huge quantities), the Queen, football clubs (especially Manchester United), and themselves. Their dislike encompasses the rest of the known universe, and England's soccer thugs express it in ways that range from mere vandalism to riots that terrorize entire cities. Now Bill Buford, editor of the prestigious journal Granta, enters this alternate society and records both its savageries and its sinister allure with the social imagination of a George Orwell and the raw personal engagement of a Hunter Thompson.

Among the Thugs
Bill Buford

They have names like Barmy Bernie, Daft Donald, and Steamin' Sammy. They like lager (in huge quantities), the Queen, football clubs (especially Manchester United), and themselves. Their dislike encompasses the rest of the known universe, and England's soccer thugs express it in ways that range from mere vandalism to riots that terrorize entire cities. Now Bill Buford, editor of the prestigious journal Granta, enters this alternate society and records both its savageries and its sinister allure with the social imagination of a George Orwell and the raw personal engagement of a Hunter Thompson.

MENTIONED IN:

The Beautiful Game: 8 Great Soccer Books to Read In Between Matches

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 1, 2014

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Solo: A Memoir of Hope
by Hope Solo

The Glass Castle meets A League of Their Own in Solo, a candid and moving memoir about family, loss, and reconciliation from Hope Solo, the supremely talented, headline-making goalkeeper for the U.S. women’s national soccer team. During the 2011 Women’s World Cup, Solo became an idol, role model, and sex symbol to a new generation of young American sports enthusiasts, inspiring the kind of intense devotion not seen since the days of Mia Hamm.

Solo: A Memoir of Hope
Hope Solo

The Glass Castle meets A League of Their Own in Solo, a candid and moving memoir about family, loss, and reconciliation from Hope Solo, the supremely talented, headline-making goalkeeper for the U.S. women’s national soccer team. During the 2011 Women’s World Cup, Solo became an idol, role model, and sex symbol to a new generation of young American sports enthusiasts, inspiring the kind of intense devotion not seen since the days of Mia Hamm.

MENTIONED IN:

The Beautiful Game: 8 Great Soccer Books to Read In Between Matches

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 1, 2014

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The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer
by David Goldblatt

In this extraordinary tour de force of a book, David Goldblatt describes the rise of football, from a chaotic folk ritual to a sector of the global-entertainment industry. It's the story of players and managers, fans and owners, clubs and national teams; a chronicle of who won and who lost. But it's also a history of states and markets, money and power. And, above all, how all these forces interact. It is a history which attempts to locate where the line between the realm of glory and the realm of power has been crossed, that celebrates the love of the game, but knows that it can be bought.

The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer
David Goldblatt

In this extraordinary tour de force of a book, David Goldblatt describes the rise of football, from a chaotic folk ritual to a sector of the global-entertainment industry. It's the story of players and managers, fans and owners, clubs and national teams; a chronicle of who won and who lost. But it's also a history of states and markets, money and power. And, above all, how all these forces interact. It is a history which attempts to locate where the line between the realm of glory and the realm of power has been crossed, that celebrates the love of the game, but knows that it can be bought.

MENTIONED IN:

The Beautiful Game: 8 Great Soccer Books to Read In Between Matches

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 1, 2014

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How Soccer Explains the World: An (Unlikely) Theory of Globalization
by Franklin Foer

A groundbreaking work—named one of the five most influential sports books of the decade by Sports Illustrated—How Soccer Explains the World is a unique and brilliantly illuminating look at soccer, the world’s most popular sport, as a lens through which to view the pressing issues of our age, from the clash of civilizations to the global economy.

How Soccer Explains the World: An (Unlikely) Theory of Globalization
Franklin Foer

A groundbreaking work—named one of the five most influential sports books of the decade by Sports Illustrated—How Soccer Explains the World is a unique and brilliantly illuminating look at soccer, the world’s most popular sport, as a lens through which to view the pressing issues of our age, from the clash of civilizations to the global economy.

MENTIONED IN:

The Beautiful Game: 8 Great Soccer Books to Read In Between Matches

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 1, 2014

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Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power
by Simon Kuper

Soccer is much more than just the most popular game in the world. It is a matter of life and death for millions around the world, an international lingua franca. Simon Kuper traveled to twenty-two countries to discover the sometimes bizarre effect soccer can have on politics and culture. At the same time he tried to discover what makes different countries play a simple game so differently. Kuper meets a remarkable variety of fans along the way, from the East Berliner persecuted by the Stasi for supporting his local team, to the Argentine general with his own views on tactics. He also illuminates the frightening intersection between soccer and politics, particularly in the wake of the attacks of 9-11, where soccer is obsessed over by the likes of Osama bin Laden. The result is one of the world's most acclaimed books on the game, and an astonishing study of soccer and its place in the world.

Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power
Simon Kuper

Soccer is much more than just the most popular game in the world. It is a matter of life and death for millions around the world, an international lingua franca. Simon Kuper traveled to twenty-two countries to discover the sometimes bizarre effect soccer can have on politics and culture. At the same time he tried to discover what makes different countries play a simple game so differently. Kuper meets a remarkable variety of fans along the way, from the East Berliner persecuted by the Stasi for supporting his local team, to the Argentine general with his own views on tactics. He also illuminates the frightening intersection between soccer and politics, particularly in the wake of the attacks of 9-11, where soccer is obsessed over by the likes of Osama bin Laden. The result is one of the world's most acclaimed books on the game, and an astonishing study of soccer and its place in the world.

MENTIONED IN:

The Beautiful Game: 8 Great Soccer Books to Read In Between Matches

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 1, 2014

Close

Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey--and Even Iraq--Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport
by Simon Kuper

Why do England lose? Why does Scotland suck? Why doesn't America dominate the sport internationally . . .and why do the Germans play with such an efficient but robotic style? These are questions every soccer aficionado has asked. Soccernomics answers them. Using insights and analogies from economics, statistics, psychology, and business to cast a new and entertaining light on how the game works, Soccernomics reveals the often surprisingly counterintuitive truths about soccer.

Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey--and Even Iraq--Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport
Simon Kuper

Why do England lose? Why does Scotland suck? Why doesn't America dominate the sport internationally . . .and why do the Germans play with such an efficient but robotic style? These are questions every soccer aficionado has asked. Soccernomics answers them. Using insights and analogies from economics, statistics, psychology, and business to cast a new and entertaining light on how the game works, Soccernomics reveals the often surprisingly counterintuitive truths about soccer.

MENTIONED IN:

The Beautiful Game: 8 Great Soccer Books to Read In Between Matches

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 1, 2014

Close

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy
by Joe McGinniss

Master storyteller Joe McGinniss travels to Italy to cover the unlikely success of a ragtag minor league soccer team--and delivers a brilliant and utterly unforgettable story of life in an off-the-beaten-track Italian village.

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy
Joe McGinniss

Master storyteller Joe McGinniss travels to Italy to cover the unlikely success of a ragtag minor league soccer team--and delivers a brilliant and utterly unforgettable story of life in an off-the-beaten-track Italian village.

MENTIONED IN:

The Beautiful Game: 8 Great Soccer Books to Read In Between Matches

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 1, 2014

Close

The Beckham Experiment: How the World's Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America
by Grant Wahl

In 2007, David Beckham, the golden boy of soccer, shocked the international sports world when he signed a five-year contract with an American team, the Los Angeles Galaxy. Under the direction of his manager, Simon Fuller, the mastermind behind American Idol and the Spice Girls, Beckham was ready for a monumental challenge and a risky adventure–ready, as Fuller put it, to earn his stripes Stateside. Could he pull off what no player had ever accomplished (including Pelé in the 1970s) and transform soccer into one of the most popular spectator sports in America? It was a bold experiment: failure meant a team, a league, a sport, and Beckham himself might miss their chance to hit primetime in the U.S.

The Beckham Experiment: How the World's Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America
Grant Wahl

In 2007, David Beckham, the golden boy of soccer, shocked the international sports world when he signed a five-year contract with an American team, the Los Angeles Galaxy. Under the direction of his manager, Simon Fuller, the mastermind behind American Idol and the Spice Girls, Beckham was ready for a monumental challenge and a risky adventure–ready, as Fuller put it, to earn his stripes Stateside. Could he pull off what no player had ever accomplished (including Pelé in the 1970s) and transform soccer into one of the most popular spectator sports in America? It was a bold experiment: failure meant a team, a league, a sport, and Beckham himself might miss their chance to hit primetime in the U.S.

MENTIONED IN:

The Beautiful Game: 8 Great Soccer Books to Read In Between Matches

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 1, 2014

Close

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