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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Book review: 'Futbol: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America' is a great read before the 2014 World Cup

  • Soccer is filled with political motivations, breathtaking emotions and, as describe in Joshua H. Nadel's book "Futbol: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America," narratives.
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  • "FUTBOL: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America," by Joshua H. Nadel, University Press of Florida, $24.95, 288 pages (nf) The crowd is chanting, and the energy is contagious. Flares fill the air and paint the sea of fans with a misty hue. Down below, on a verdant pitch, players pass back and forth, searching for a goal — whether to break the score or to increase the lead.This is a beautiful game. This is soccer.But soccer is more than just a beautiful game. It's filled with political motivations, breathtaking emotions and, as described in Joshua H. Nadel's book, "Futbol: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America," narratives. Soccer teams across Latin America each have their own distinct style that connects to political, social and economic history — Brazilians are fantastic and poetic, Uruguayans are always the underdog and Mexico can never surpass the problems that weigh it down, Nadel writes.Nadel's work is a great beginners guide to understanding the Latin American game, especially with the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil being less than 50 days away. The top powers of South America — including Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Chile — are all chronicled thoroughly in Nadel's work, as the North Carolina Central University professor gives bios of top players, both past and present, and outlines how the teams have developed throughout history.Some interesting stories are found in this book, including some that are highlighted in documentaries. ESPN's "30 for 30" series featured Diego Maradona, Argentina's top soccer player, and players from other Latin American countries. The stories told in the documentary come out just as vividly in Nadel's work, making it a great companion piece to ESPN's series."Futbol" is a great book, sometimes with challenging language and fantastic imagery, but can leave readers wanting a bit more about the history of soccer in other nations around the world. A sequel about North American, European or Asian teams would be just as interesting to read. So much focus is on Europe for soccer that it's a bold move for Nadel to centralize his book on Latin America.Some mature themes presented in a style similar to how they would be in a history book, but the language is clean and there isn't any described violence or sexual innuendo.
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