Posted by Ognian Georgiev
It’s a great honor for me and the blog to have a guest today. The expert in Sports books Aidan Williams wrote a special post. He made a selection of five great sports books that were published recently. His opinion is very much respected around our readers/authors society. Aidan is author of Asia’s World Cup Story book. Check out below his choices!
I Think Therefore I Play by Andrea Pirlo
Elegant is the word that most readily springs to mind when thinking of Andrea Pirlo the player. In his autobiography, I Think Therefore I Play, he comes across as rather more quirky and occasionally even oddball than elegant. It’s no surprise to find that he has strong thoughts on how the game should be played and on various issues surrounding it.
Best of all are some of the highly quotable comments which litter this book. For example, when about to take his penalty kick in the 2006 World Cup Final shoot out for Italy against France he notes: “I lifted my eyes to the heavens and asked for help because if God exists, there’s no way he’s French.” Who couldn’t love a comment like that?
His relaxed approach is never summed up better than another insight into that momentous day in Berlin in 2006. “I don’t feel pressure; I don’t give a toss about it. I spent the afternoon of Sunday, July 9, 2006, in Berlin sleeping and playing the Playstation. In the evening, I went out and won the World Cup.”
These thoughts and insights into this enigmatic “silent leader” of Italian football are endlessly fun. It is a fairly short book, which is a shame, but it’s certainly an entertaining and worthwhile read.
Written ahead of the 2014 World Cup, this book by Brazilian journalist Fernando Duarte is even more appropriate given what occurred this summer. Duarte looks at various key defeats in Brazil’s footballing past, and the significant effects they had on the country and its football.
Given the disastrous semi final defeat to Germany this year it makes for quite an interesting read to see the fallout from other significant defeats such as the 1950 World Cup Final defeat to Uruguay, the 1982 loss to Italy, the 1990 loss to Argentina, the Ronaldo incident in 1998 and so on.
Duarte is a large than life enthusiast too, and that make his writing style endlessly engaging and well worth a look. Whether there needs to be an updated version to include a seventh seismic defeat is an interesting question, and would make for even more great reading.
In a year where books relating to the First World War are everywhere, this is a slightly different and sporting oriented approach to looking at that conflict and the terrible losses it caused. By limiting the focus to the players of one West London Rugby club, Rosslyn Park, the author brings the stories of sacrifice and bravery to life.
Each of the fifteen men focused on have their own written portraits painstakingly well researched by Cooper and written in a compelling and engaging style. Their strong links, forged through years as Rugby team mates and comrades but whose tales in the war bring a whole host of circumstances to the fore. As the author states ‘what emerges from the lives of these rugby men is a remarkable history in miniature of the entire war, across all fronts, theatres and engagements.’
This book has won all sorts of awards and deserves to be one of the best selling sports books of the year.
In contrast to the multitude of recent cycling books which are either lowing the trumpet of a particular cyclist or team, or are blowing the whistle on cycling’s murky recent past of doping and cheating, this makes for not only a refreshing change but a truly remarkable and warming story.
Essentially it is a focus on three individuals involved in one way or another in the rise of a Rwandan cycling team. No mention of Rwanda in recent years can be made without reference to the genocide of the early 1990s and this is no exception. The main focus being on Adrien Niyonshuti ensures that. Now an Olympic cycling hopeful, as a seven year old he lost his family to the genocide in 1994.
The other prime focuses are on two Americans who have had a more than significant role in the development of cycling in Rwanda, but other stories are brought in too. Again, the level of research and dedication involved is impressive and has made this a fascinating alternative to many of the other cycling titles available at the moment.
As described on the back cover, this book is “Messi vs Ronaldo, Catalonia vs Castilla. A nation against the state, freedom fighters vs Franco’s fascists. It’s more than a game. It’s a war.” It would be easy to fall short in living up to such an introduction but Sid Lowe, a British journalist covering the Spanish game, has produced a highly detailed in-depth analysis of the rivalry between the two great clubs of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
It is in part a look at the turbulent history of the two regions, and indeed much of the opening sections of the book look at the political and social histories rather than the sporting one, but this is essential background for understanding the significance of El Classico and the importance of each result.
But moving on from that aspect, there are also numerous testimonials from some of those whose impact on this fixture has been the greatest such as Alfredo Di Stefano and Johann Cruyff, as well as more contemporary examples. Written with the journalists eye for detail and skilled prose this is a fabulous look at arguably the two biggest clubs in the world and their heated rivalry.
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Tags: Aidan Williams, Andrea Pirlo, Asia’s World Cup Story, author, Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona vs Real Madrid, Fernando Duarte, guest, I Think Therefore I Play, Land of Second Chances: The Impossible Rise of Rwanda’s Cycling Team, Shocking Brazil: Six Games That Shook the World Cup, Sid Lowe, Sports book, Tim Lewis, Top 5