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Soccer in Sun and Shadow (1995)

by Eduardo Galeano

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4991435,187 (3.95)21
"In this witty and rebellious history of world soccer, award-winning writer Eduardo Galeano searches for the styles of play, players, and goals that express the unique personality of certain times and places. In Soccer in Sun and Shadow, Galeano takes us to ancient China, where engravings from the Ming period show a ball that could have been designed by Adidas to Victorian England, where gentlemen codified the rules that we still play by today and to Latin America, where the "crazy English" spread the game only to find it creolized by the locals. All the greats-Pele;, Di Ste;fano, Cruyff, Euse;bio, Pusk, Gullit, Baggio, Beckenbauer- have joyous cameos in this book. yet soccer, Galeano cautions, "is a pleasure that hurts." Thus there is also heartbreak and madness. Galeano tells of the suicide of Uruguayan player Porte, who shot himself in the center circle of the Nacional's stadium; of the Argentine manager who wouldn't let his team eat chicken because it would bring bad luck; and of scandal-riven Diego Maradona whose real crime, Galeano suggests, was always "the sin of being the best." Soccer is a game that bureaucrats try to dull and the powerful try to manipulate, but it retains its magic because it remains a bewitching game-"a feast for the eyes... and a joy for the body that plays it"-exquisitely rendered in the magical stories of Soccer in Sun and Shadow"--… (more)

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» See also 21 mentions

English (11)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
All the stars.

This is deservedly a classic, and it's a book everyone who cares about soccer should read. It focuses on South American history, but it also incorporates discussions of Europe (a lot), Central America (some), and Africa, Asia, and North America (a little). The book is a series of mini-chapters, some just a couple of paragraphs, some a few pages, and it is structured by the World Cup years. Every World Cup chapter opens with a paragraph about what else is happening in the world, which serves as a reminder that soccer is embedded in and inseparable from the rest of life.

There are marvelous portraits of players, and players dominate the pages (as they should). Galeano never lets the reader forget how many great players came from poor, minority, and disadvantaged backgrounds, and how often they were used and then discarded by the soccer elites. He traces the roots of the sport's corruption back decades, and he excoriates the commodification of athletes and the greed of owners, association heads, and politicians (who are sometimes all the same person).

But this is also a warm, embracing love letter to the sport. You can recognize and acknowledge the flaws and still love soccer deeply, and Galeano shows you how. ( )
  Sunita_p | May 18, 2019 |
Short chapters about random soccer facts ( )
  kakadoo202 | Dec 9, 2018 |
There had to be a favourite football book during the 2018 World Cup. The Uruguayan author takes us back to the very beginnings and the success of Uruguay in 1930. It then takes us forward step by step, almost to the present day, gathering momentum as books and matches should.
  jon1lambert | Sep 27, 2018 |
Eduardo Galeano is one of the world's great investigative journalists. I know nothing about football but I loved this book. In fact I love all of the writing I have read of his. I like his style and I particularly like how you can end up thinking about one small anecdote for many days afterwards because it is packed with so many connotations. ( )
  limoncello | Mar 15, 2015 |
In Football in Sun and Shadow Eduardo Galeano tells an anecdotal history of football (soccer). Those who have read his Memories of the Fire will immediately recognize the style. And I guess the reasons to enjoy or dislike these histories are the same in both cases. I love (playing) football (and occasionally watch others play it) and I like Galeano's writing and his humour and his attitude, so I enjoyed the book quite unconditionally. Like he I am one of the greatest footballers in the world -- during the night, in my bed -- and while watching a game it doesn't matter who wins as long as I get to see even a minute of beautiful football. Galeano tells deliciously about the game itself, about a few great players, wonderful matches and even about individual goals, summarizes all the World Cups, and about the shady business and cabinet politics connected to the great game. ( )
  eairo | May 1, 2013 |
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Die folgenden Seiten sind den Kindern gewidmet, die mir einmal vor Jahren in Calella da Costa über den Weg liefen. Sie kamen vom Fussballspielen und sangen:

Ob gewonnen, ob besiegt,
wie haben uns ganz arg vergnügt.
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Die Geschichte des Fussballs ist eine traurige Reise von der Lust zur Pflicht.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"In this witty and rebellious history of world soccer, award-winning writer Eduardo Galeano searches for the styles of play, players, and goals that express the unique personality of certain times and places. In Soccer in Sun and Shadow, Galeano takes us to ancient China, where engravings from the Ming period show a ball that could have been designed by Adidas to Victorian England, where gentlemen codified the rules that we still play by today and to Latin America, where the "crazy English" spread the game only to find it creolized by the locals. All the greats-Pele;, Di Ste;fano, Cruyff, Euse;bio, Pusk, Gullit, Baggio, Beckenbauer- have joyous cameos in this book. yet soccer, Galeano cautions, "is a pleasure that hurts." Thus there is also heartbreak and madness. Galeano tells of the suicide of Uruguayan player Porte, who shot himself in the center circle of the Nacional's stadium; of the Argentine manager who wouldn't let his team eat chicken because it would bring bad luck; and of scandal-riven Diego Maradona whose real crime, Galeano suggests, was always "the sin of being the best." Soccer is a game that bureaucrats try to dull and the powerful try to manipulate, but it retains its magic because it remains a bewitching game-"a feast for the eyes... and a joy for the body that plays it"-exquisitely rendered in the magical stories of Soccer in Sun and Shadow"--

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