This is one of the quickest reads, a testament to Foer’s writing and the editing.
I love soccer but I had never read anything about it. I own Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch but haven’t read it yet, so this was interesting for me to start.
I would first say this is about cultural globilization more than economic. It’s not a treatise on who soccer makes the global economy. It surveys how soccer is the catalyst, sanctuary and jump-off for many groups around the world. Foer does explore the economics of some of the team ownership but he also explores how soccer is used to promote ethnic pride and denegrate ethnic groups, how it is used to help politicians remain in power, get elected and how it is used to start political change. He talks about neighbor hoods who don’t have emotional outlets for their pride/predjudice will support teams in nearby locals who share their love/hatred. He talks about soccer stadiums and teams being the example of the perfect example of regional norms and how that can be exploited by politicians and/or religions.
He travels from Western Europe to Eastern, from South America to North and from the Mediterranean to Persia. He explores judiaism, islam, fascists, socialists, elites, underclass, history, present.
I found his chapters on judiaism, anti-semitism, US Soccer and, of course, Barcelona quite interesting.
You don’t have to be a soccer fan to enjoy the book but it helps.