Soccer in Sun and Shadow

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In a sequence of elegiac and deliciously droll observations, the distinguished Latin American writer, Eduardo Galeano here reflects on mortality and immortality in the world's greatest game. Tragedy spins a continuous thread through these pages. We learn of Abdon Porte of the Uruguayan club Nacional who, after a disastrous run of bad form, was found dead in the center circle of the club stadium, revolver in hand; of Andres Escobar, the Colombian defender, whose own goal lost his country a game in the 1994 World ...
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Soccer in Sun and Shadow

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Overview

In a sequence of elegiac and deliciously droll observations, the distinguished Latin American writer, Eduardo Galeano here reflects on mortality and immortality in the world's greatest game. Tragedy spins a continuous thread through these pages. We learn of Abdon Porte of the Uruguayan club Nacional who, after a disastrous run of bad form, was found dead in the center circle of the club stadium, revolver in hand; of Andres Escobar, the Colombian defender, whose own goal lost his country a game in the 1994 World Cup and who was subsequently gunned down in Medellin; of the 1942 Dynamo Kiev team who were warned not to win a game against the occupying Nazis but who could not resist the urge to glory, trounced the German side, and were all eleven shot, still wearing their shirts, at the end of the game. But where there is shadow there is also the bright sunlight of joy and beauty. Here are stories of the Italian striker Guiseppe Meazza whose shorts, in the run up to a penalty kick during the 1938 World Cup, fell down around this knees - he pulled them back up and, with the stadium and goalkeeper in pleats of laughter, scored the goal that saw Italy into the final; of the ice-cool legend Lev Yashin who calmed his nerves before extraordinary performances in the Soviet goal with a smoke and a strong drink; of Ferenc Puskas who, having seen his goal from a beautifully executed free kick disallowed because the referee had not blown his whistle, picked up the ball, took it back to the same spot, and produced an identical shot which landed again in the upper left corner of the net.
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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
“This effervescent book, illustrated by the author's spry silhouettes, is a lyrical celebration of the Latin character.”
The New Yorker
“Stands out like Pelé on a field of second-stringers.”
Los Angeles Times
“It's all here. Everything you should know about soccer, the world's game.”
Time Out New York
“As only a radical Latin American writer can, Galeano conjures up images of legendary heroes and earth-shaking goals, with heavy-handed swipes at commercialism and class-politics, real-life racism and fascism.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Galeano delivers a loving tribute to the game and its culture, and a celebration not only of soccer but also of life.”
Village Voice Literary Supplement
“Brilliant, lyrical flights of language that, like a player racing down the field in a mad, beautifully executed breakaway, are piercingly and unexpectedly insightful.”
The New York Times Book Review - Jay Jennings
[Galeano's] elegiac tone…does not prevent his lifelong love for the sport from bursting through as he recreates and relives many of the game's signature moments, mostly from World Cup matches…Between poetic descriptions of scores by famous players, Galeano provides political context and commentary…but over all, the book is a winning celebration of the beautiful game.
Publishers Weekly
A history of the sport of soccer, the poetic title of this volume, originally published in 1995 as El fútbol a sol y sombra and now in its fourth edition, is a dead giveaway that this is not a purely historical accounting of the world’s most popular game. While Galeano covers the sport’s origins in China five thousand years ago to the 2010 World Cup in chronological order, it’s how he tells the story in this rather poetic history that sets the book apart from others. Galeano, a renowned Uruguayan author and journalist, brings a personal passion to fútbol’s most memorable moments that can only come from a true aficionado. Whether describing great games, momentous goals or extraordinary players, each story has that distinct magical realism so prevalent in Latin American literature that it doesn’t matter that from one sentence to the next the writing moves from clichéd to poetic, as when he describes the great Pelé: “he cut right through his opponents like a hot knife through butter. When he stopped, his opponents got lost in the labyrinths his legs embroidered.” Focusing mostly on the international aspects of the game, Galeano’s Catholic upbringing, socialist politics, and the injustice he’s seen as a journalist seeps into his commentary, and gives his narrative a refreshing perspective that captures soccer’s spiritual roots, corruption by greed, and role as a global equalizer that puts royals and dictators at the mercy of minorities and slum kids. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

Named one of the “Top 100 Sports Books of All Time” by Sports Illustrated

"Soccer in Sun and Shadow is the most lyrical sports book ever written... In soccer, Galeano finds both a reflection and extension of everything he loves and finds maddening about the part of the world that has been the central focus of his writing for decades."
Dave Zirin

"Between poetic descriptions of scores by famous players, Galeano provides political context and commentary... over all, the book is a winning celebration of the beautiful game."
New York Times Book Review

“A poetic history [of soccer] that sets the book apart from others…Galeano’s Catholic upbringing, socialist politics, and the injustice he’s seen as a journalist seeps into his commentary, and gives his narrative a refreshing perspective that captures soccer’s spiritual roots, corruption by greed, and role as a global equalizer that puts royals and dictators at the mercy of minorities and slum kids.”
Publishers Weekly

“This updated edition serves as a reminder that this is not just a classic sports book… On virtually every page, Galeano uses a phrase or sentence that will leave readers in awe of his gifts…. A welcome update of a classic—Galeano’s gift to the game he loves.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Since its first publication in 1995 (as Football in Sun and Shadow), this book has been relentlessly quoted, and for good reason. The author who pleads, "A pretty move, for the love of God," has an eye for beauty, a feel for the game, a sense of proportion-and a gift for putting it all into words. Those seeking a history of soccer or a fan's memoir won't find it here... Above all, he reminds us of 'a simple truth that tends to escape the scientists of the ball: soccer is a game, and those who really play it feel happy and make us happy too.' An indispensible addition to soccer collections."
Booklist, (starred review)

“It’s all here. Everything you should know about soccer, the world’s game.” –Los Angeles Times

“Stands out like Pelé on a field of second-stringers.” –New Yorker

“[A] beautiful ode to the beautiful game” –Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated

"The Pelé of [soccer] writing....a marvelous book." –Richard Williams, The Guardian

"A handful of [soccer] books defy categorization, none more so than Soccer in Sun and Shadow... Like many Latin American soccer writers, Mr. Galeano traces the game's mist-shrouded origins to bloody Aztec ballgames (tlatchti), cosmic rituals that concluded by sacrificing the winning warriors to the gods. (Nowadays the victors instead become ESPN commentators.)" -Reed Johnson, Wall Street Journal

Kirkus Reviews
A revised and updated version of the Uruguayan author's lyrical exploration of the beautiful game. Like so many children born in Latin America, Galeano (Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History, 2013, etc.) grew up wanting to play soccer. In his dreams, he was a star. During the day, however, he "was the worst wooden leg ever to set foot on the little soccer fields of my country." Nonetheless, his love affair with the sport continued. After its 1995 publication, El fútbol a sol y sombra was instantly hailed as one of the finest works of sportswriting ever written; Sports Illustrated hailed it as one of the 100 best sports books of all time. This updated edition serves as a reminder that this is not just a classic sports book. In more than 150 chapters, sketches, really, most of not more than a page or two, the author explores soccer from a wide variety of angles and looks at some of the major touchstones, including the World Cup games and dozens of significant goals. Galeano does not endeavor to provide a complete history of the game but rather, set pieces exploring great players, moments and themes in the development of the game he deeply loves but does not spare from criticism. The author's longtime translator Fried ably conveys the lyricism and poetry of Galeano's prose. On virtually every page, Galeano uses a phrase or sentence that will leave readers in awe of his gifts. This updated edition scarcely touches the original book but adds four new chapters, longer than those preceding them, of "Extra Time," covering the last four World Cups and developments in the game in the time since 1995. A welcome update of a classic--Galeano's gift to the game he loves.
Vanity Fair
“Is there any book more evocative of ‘the beautiful game’ than Eduardo Galeano’s slim but buoyant paean to the players, goals, joys, and heartbreaks of a lifetime of soccer fandom?”
The New York Times
“[Galeano is] the poet laureate of world soccer.”
Village Voice Literary Supplement
“Brilliant, lyrical flights of language that, like a player racing down the field in a mad, beautifully executed breakaway, are piercingly and unexpectedly insightful.”
Los Angeles Times
“It's all here. Everything you should know about soccer, the world's game.”
Boston Globe
“This effervescent book, illustrated by the author’s spry silhouettes, is a lyrical celebration of the Latin character.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859844236
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 4/17/2003
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Eduardo Galeano is one of Latin America’s most distinguished writers. He is the author of the three-volume Memory of Fire; Open Veins of Latin America; Soccer in Sun and Shadow; The Book of Embraces; Walking Words; Upside Down; and Voices in Time. Born in Montevideo in 1940, he lived in exile in Argentina and Spain for years before returning to Uruguay. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages. He is recipient of many international prizes, including the first Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom, the Casa de las Américas Prize, and the First Distinguished Citizen of the region by the countries of Mercosur.
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Table of Contents

acknowledgments
author's confession 1
soccer 2
the player 3
the goalkeeper 4
the idol 5
the fan 7
the fanatic 8
the goal 9
the referee 10
the manager 11
the theater 13
the specialists 14
the language of soccer doctors 15
choreographed war 17
the language of war 18
the stadium 19
the ball 20
the origins 22
the rules of the game 25
the english invasions 27
creole soccer 30
the story of fla and flu 32
the opiate of the people? 33
a flag that rolls 34
the blacks 38
zamora 39
samitier 40
death on the field 41
friedenreich 41
from mutilation to splendor 42
the second discovery of america 44
andrade 47
ringlets 48
the olympic goal 49
goal by piendibene 50
the bicycle kick 51
scarone 51
goal by scarone 52
the occult forces 53
goal by nolo 54
the 1930 world cup 54
nasazzi 57
camus 57
juggernauts 58
professionalism 59
the 1934 world cup 60
god and the devil in rio de janeiro 62
the sources of misfortune 64
amulets and spells 65
erico 67
the 1938 world cup 68
goal by meazza 71
leonidas 72
domingos 73
domingos and she 74
goal by atilio 74
the perfect kiss would like to be unique 75
the machine 76
moreno 77
pedernera 79
goal by severino 80
bombs 81
the man who turned iron into wind 82
contact therapy 82
goal by martino 84
goal by heleno 84
the 1950 world cup 85
obdulio 88
barbosa 89
goal by zarra 90
goal by zizinho 91
the fun-lovers 92
the 1954 world cup 92
goal by rahn 94
walking advertisements 95
goal by di stetano 98
di stelano 99
goal by garrincha 100
the 1958 world cup 100
goal by nilton 103
garrincha 103
didi 105
didi and she 105
kopa 106
carrizo 107
shirt fervor 108
goal by puskas 111
goal by sanfilippo 112
the 1962 world cup 114
goal by chariton 116
yashin 117
goal by gente 118
seeler 119
matthews 120
the 1966 world cup 120
greaves 123
goal by backenbauer 124
eusebio 125
curse of the three posts 125
penarol's glory years 127
goal by rocha 128
my poor beloved mother 128
tears don't flow from a handkerchief 129
goal by pele 131
pele 132
the 1970 world cup 133
goal by jairzinho 135
the fiesta 136
soccer and the generals 138
blinks 139
goal by maradona 139
the 1974 world cup 140
cruyff 143
muller 144
havelange 145
the owners of the ball 146
Jesus 150
the 1978 world cup 152
hapiness 154
goal by gemmill 156
goal by bettega 156
goal by sunderland 158
the 1982 world cup 160
pears from an elm 160
platini 162
pagan sacrifices 163
the 1986 world cup 165
the telecracy 168
serious and in series 171
running drug stores 172
chants of scorn 173
anything goes 175
indigestion 178
the 1990 world cup 170
goal by rincon 181
hugo sanchez 182
the cicada and the ant 183
gullit 184
parricide 185
goal by zico 186
a sport of evasion 187
the 1994 world cup 190
romario 193
baggio 194
a few numbers 194
the duty of losing 196
the sin of losing 197
maradona 199
they don't count for beans 204
an export industry 206
end of the game 208
epilogue to the 1999 edition 211
the 1998 world cup 211
stars 213
prices 214
foot labor 215
advertisements 216
roots 217
africans 218
fervor 219
latin americans 219
dutch 220
french 220
fish 221
the sources 223
index 231
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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    great introduction to South American soccer

    the brief anecdotes that make up this book highlight the passion of fans and players, the style of the South American game, and the politics that often affect it. this is not an exhaustive study but rather one man's almost poetic expression of his love of the game.

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