Ajax, the Dutch, the War: The Strange Tale of Soccer During Europe's Darkest Hour

Ajax, the Dutch, the War: The Strange Tale of Soccer During Europe's Darkest Hour

by Simon Kuper

Paperback(First Trade Paper Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781568587233
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 09/11/2012
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 828,790
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Simon Kuper is one of the world's leading writers on soccer. The winner of the William Hill prize for sports book of the year in England, Kuper writes a weekly column for the Financial Times.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 Orange Soldiers 1

2 A Sunday Before the War 15

3 A Friendly Salute: International Soccer in the 1930s 25

4 The Warm Back of Eddy Hamel: An American in Amsterdam and Birkenau 47

5 The Lost Memories of Meijer Stad 57

6 Sparta: A Soccer Club in Wartime 69

7 Boom: The Rise of Soccer in the Occupied Netherlands 93

8 Strange Lies: Ajax, World War II, and P. G. Wodehouse 105

9 Captain of France, Collaborator in Gorcum: Soccer and the Annals of Resistance 123

10 The Netherlands Was Better Than the Rest 139

11 Soldier Heroes: British and German Soccer in the War (and Long After) 153

12 Of Bunkers and Cigars: The Holocaust and the Making of the Great Ajax 187

13 The Most Popular Team in Israel 203

14 Soccer Songs of the Netherlands 219

15 Disneytown and the Secret Monuments 233

Afterword to the U.S. Edition 245

Sources 259

Index 265

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Booklist(Published in the UK by Orion)“Kuper’s journalism is always about more than just the game itself….It’s a fascinating exploration by a journalist who holds no truths to be self-evident but wants the facts behind the national myths we so eagerly embrace. Likely to interest WWII and Holocaust scholars as much as—if not more than—soccer fans.” The Classical“Ajax is an absorbing, thoughtful read, driven by a moral intelligence not typically found in sports books…. The resulting book is not about 4-4-2 formations, transfers, or sporting glory—Kuper instead uses the game as a lever to open up a serious but engaging discussion of collective memory, group identity, the legacy of the Holocaust and the war, and what games can stand for beyond the pitch. Any intelligent sports fan not familiar with Kuper's work is missing out, and Ajax more than lives up to his high standard.” Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn“[W]orthy (and decidedly different) nonfiction…. Simon Kuper’s Ajax, The Dutch, The War: The Strange Tale of Soccer During Europe’s Darkest Hour is a smart, sometimes horrifying look at soccer in the 1930s and 1940s, primarily in nations occupied by the Nazis. I’ve read a couple of Kuper’s other books, and as with them, I was impressed with his ability to place compelling sports narratives into a larger geopolitical context.” International Soccer Network“Another masterpiece from Simon Kuper….Kuper, one of the most prominent writers in the soccer business, tackles the difficult task of finding out the truth behind what the Dutch did and didn’t do in WWII and the role soccer may have played in the grand scheme of things. Kuper becomes historian, investigative journalist, and storyteller all wrapped into one….Simply put this text is extremely powerful….It is impossible to truly understand Dutch soccer without first reading this book. If you liked David Winner’s Brilliant Orange, you will absolutely fall in love with Kuper’s Ajax, the Dutch, the War. It’s that good.” The Volunteer“[Kuper] is a tenacious digger….his work is indispensable today.” Kirkus Reviews“Though Kuper’s book promises to explore the history of Ajax and other soccer clubs, it goes much deeper….[Kuper] kicks topics around the way Maradona smacks a ball, sometimes with a great roundabout curve to it—but always hitting the goal….fascinating.” Franklin Foer, author of How Soccer Explains the World“This book is filled with reporting that will break your heart and analysis that will change the way you watch the game.” Daily Telegraph“His fresh-eyed survey has a familiar theme but never palls, crowded with a gallery of unlikely figures…whose stories weave through the book.” The Times“I have only bought one football book recently and it’s an absolute belter…heartily recommended.” Glasgow Herald“Gripping and brilliant.” Financial Times“An intriguing social history, full of quirky anecdotes, written with a winning geniality and the dash of a Brazilian forward…a beguiling book.” Spectator“A fascinating tale, which Kuper describes particularly well.” GQ“Kuper’s poignant and perceptive account again proves there can be more to football writing than fanzines and pale Hornby imitations.” Telegraph“A fascinating history, full of startling facts and sobering detail.” Time Out“Kuper has fashioned a work which brilliantly juxtaposes the everyday life of football clubs with the awful fate suffered by so many of their Jewish players, officials, and supporters.” Independent
“An intriguing work.”

The Forward“[Kuper] is the world expert on the intersection of soccer, culture and politics.”
World Football Commentaries
“[A] provocative, well-researched and captivating book. The author takes you down a road less-traveled to unearth a rich trove of remembrances: Memories that were previously hidden from public view but never forgotten by their protagonists….The author’s writing style is detailed, journalistic and captivating….Mr. Kuper told a story that needed to be shared with a larger audience….This seminal work is not only about soccer, a country and a people, but rather the good and bad qualities found in human nature.”

Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review

“[A] poignant tribute.”

Jewish Book World
“[A] bold and comprehensive book.... [Kuper] deepens our understanding of Europe’s darkest hour.”

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