Essential reading for soccer fans, a lively and lyrical guide to appreciating the drama of soccer
Soccer is not only the world's most popular sport; it's also one of the most widely shared forms of global culture. The Language of the Game is a passionate and engaging introduction to soccer's history, tactics, and human drama. Profiling soccer's full cast of characters -- goalies and position players, referees and managers, commentators and fans -- historian and soccer scholar Laurent Dubois describes how the game's low scores, relentless motion, and spectacular individual performances combine to turn each match into a unique and unpredictable story. He also shows how soccer's global reach makes it an unparalleled theater for nationalism, international conflict, and human interconnectedness, with close attention to both men's and women's soccer.
Filled with perceptive insights and stories both legendary and little known, The Language of the Game is a rewarding read for anyone seeking to understand soccer better -- newcomers and passionate followers alike.
"A collection of wisdom gleaned from a lifetime of reading about his beloved sport...If your soccer fandom needs a tuneup before the World Cup, this book will more than suffice. But the real pleasure comes in Dubois's attempt to arrive at a kind of philosophical ideal for each position he describes."—New York Times Book Review
"An impassioned fan's perceptive observations about the sport's history, tactics, and drama."—Christian Science Monitor
"Thoughtful and eye-opening...Fans and neophytes alike will appreciate this eclectic offering and its passionate view of soccer's global influence."—Library Journal
"An enjoyable and thought-provoking read."—Booklist
"When I want to explain the sublime creation that is soccer, I will hand out this gorgeous tome. Laurent Dubois comes to the game by way of politics, history, and true love. His book is eloquent, erudite and delightful company."—Franklin Foer, author of How Soccer Explains the World
"Laurent Dubois always opens new windows onto the soccer world for me, and here he has done it again, revealing the sport's component parts through a prism of smart perspectives from around the world--including his own. I love this book."—Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated senior writer and author of Masters of Modern Soccer
"Laurent Dubois is a fluent writer and very smart thinker who loves soccer as a game and understands it as more than just a game. As someone who is at home in many countries, he is the ideal guide to the world's most popular sport."
—Simon Kuper, coauthor of Soccernomics
"Laurent Dubois' The Language of the Game is a primer for beginners, a guide for the engaged, an anthology to please veterans, and a gentle meditation on the game of soccer; critical when necessary, it is, nonetheless, a treat to hear a voice in football that still speaks of awe, wonder, and pleasure."
—David Goldblatt, author of The Ball is Round
"Laurent Dubois weaves together fantastic stories and eloquent insights from the game's poets to form a beautiful, communal love letter to football. The Language of the Game
offers fresh awe and understanding for any fan and manages to puts into words just what is so bafflingly magical about the act of kicking a ball."—Gwendolyn Oxenham, author of Under the Lights and in the Dark