The Ball is Round by David Goldblatt: Read It

David Goldblatt, The Ball is RoundToday I had to return my hardback copy of David Goldblatt’s The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football to the library because I’d had it for a year and they wouldn’t let me renew it again. My heart sank as I deposited it in the return box, an inestimably useful synthesis of world football history disappearing from my grasp. I consult it almost any time I write something historical on this blog, and it rarely disappoints.

Fortunately, those of us who live in the U.S. can now purchase a brand new paperback copy for a mere $16 from Amazon. I promise that if you have any interest in world football, you’ll not be disappointed with the book (renamed a A Global History of Soccer for this market, incidentally). Sure, the book’s huge (just shy of 1,000 pages) so you’re not going to devour it in one sitting, but read it in chunks at your leisure and enjoy.

And coincidentally, John Turnbull at The Global Game blog recently interviewed Goldblatt about the book — it’s a great primer on the massive ground the book covers (there’s also a podcast of the interview too). Turnbull begins with the perspicacious thought: “We wonder how many will read the title’s four words as a direct challenge to the myth of American centrality in all things,” exploring the meaning of soccer as the global game with Goldblatt, who spent 3 1/2 years immersed in research for the book. And it shows.

Update: if $16 is too dear, you can win a copy of The Ball is Round over at Adam Spangler’s This Is American Soccer.

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