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

This is a disappointing book with a misleading title. There is too much globalization and not enough soccer. Certainly, none of it amounts to a theory of globalization. Every chapter but the last is a typical magazine article, in which the author visits a new city (Glasgow, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, etc.), provides a history lesson and interviews some locals. There are exaggerations and questionable observations.

In the last chapter, Foer expounds on America’s attitudes toward soccer. The book feels dated, despite having been published in 2004. Anyway, soccer doesn’t explain the world. The world — its history, economics and politics, as well as human psychology — explains soccer.  (6/28/11)