Those Feet: A Sensual History of English Football

Overview

In this playful, witty and highly original look at English soccer, David Winner, author of the acclaimed Brilliant Orange, journeys to the heart of an essential English pastime and sheds new light on the true nature of a rapidly changing game that was never really meant to be beautiful.

With the same insightful eye he brought to his bestselling study of Dutch soccer, Winner shows how Victorian sexual anxiety underlies England's many World Cup failures. He reveals the connection ...

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Those Feet: A Sensual History of English Football

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Overview

In this playful, witty and highly original look at English soccer, David Winner, author of the acclaimed Brilliant Orange, journeys to the heart of an essential English pastime and sheds new light on the true nature of a rapidly changing game that was never really meant to be beautiful.

With the same insightful eye he brought to his bestselling study of Dutch soccer, Winner shows how Victorian sexual anxiety underlies England's many World Cup failures. He reveals the connection between Roy Keane and a soldier who never lived but died in the Charge of the Light Brigade. And he demonstrates how thick mud and wet leather shaped the contours of the English soul.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this wide-ranging cultural history, journalist Winner explores the link between the English character and a game that the British Empire carried from Brazil to Bhutan. Originating as a kind of organized village brawl, football, as it is called outside of the U.S., rose to become the most popular sport in the world. In that time, the English fell from football’s supreme masters to its court jesters, schooled by one nation of upstarts after another—Hungarians, Germans, Brazilians, Italians, et al. Winner looks at the English climate, and English notions of nostalgia and manhood, for reasons why his homeland has struggled to adapt to the modern version of the “joga bonito.” Winner’s account wanders, a typical two pages taking the reader from a 1905 history of football to England’s 1996 World Cup victory, from a Stephen Fry radio program to former Labour Prime Minster Harold Wilson. While his easy erudition is impressive, the digressions can be unrewarding. Winner is best when he anchors and extends his analyses, such as in a late chapter where he examines the type of play dictated by the stiff soccer boots and heavy balls of the 1950s. For football fans, this book has all the pleasures of watching a game in a bar next to a loquacious old coach with three Ph.D.s. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468303506
  • Publisher: Overlook TP
  • Publication date: 7/30/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 640,284
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Winner is the author of Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer, also published by Overlook.

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