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What surprised me most about the book was the down-playing of the political t A very detailed history of soccer in Spain both at the club and national team levels. What surprised me most about the book was the down-playing of the political ties of Franco to Real Madrid. I had been under the impression that the ties were stronger. The book focuses on people, coaches, players, politicians. It creates some interesting snapshots of the people who were instrumental in Spanish soccer through its history. These mini-biographies are interesting, but because of their focus, the book lacked cohesion.

It jumped from person to person more than telling a smooth narrative. A solid read for anyone looking to know more about Spain and its soccer history, but hard to recommend to the non-soccer fan. If you don't know anything about Spanish soccer prepare to be bombarded with the names of many Spaniards and Englishmen you will soon forget. This is a very comprehensive look at the growth of soccer in Spain, at times enthralling and at other times sleep inducing. I wish there were more pictures of some of the characters described in this book and by characters I really mean characters.

The coach who brought two national rivals together for the World Cup win in , Vincente Del Bosque, lots o If you don't know anything about Spanish soccer prepare to be bombarded with the names of many Spaniards and Englishmen you will soon forget. The coach who brought two national rivals together for the World Cup win in , Vincente Del Bosque, lots of kudos to him but no picture. I wanted to read more about the cultural and political aspects of the game vis a vis Franco and that is there too. Burns is a good observer and chronicler of the game as we go from the English mining companies who brought it to Spain through the Civil War and ultimately a democratic Spain.

This is a book that doesn't stimulate one to race through it but to attack it slowly. Aug 24, Chris rated it liked it. It was interesting, and there are plenty of good stories here, but I sometimes found the style distractingly uneven. For example, several times I had to re-read a passage in order to parse the meaning, and the author occasionally interrupted the third-person narrative with first-person anecdotes.

Those issues aside, if you're interested in the history of soccer in Spain through the World Cup win in , this book has you covered. Sep 16, Cesar rated it it was amazing. Really great read on the history of the Spanish game. Some editing errors and I thought it swerved here and there at times. Lost focus. For ex. But overall, an eye opening, wonderful journey through Spain and the history of Spanish football.

Highly recommended. May 14, Tom rated it it was ok. As other reviewers have said you really are just bombarded with last names and facts instead of a good story about the history of the game in the country. Most glaringly, it is riddled with errors. Jun 02, Spiros rated it liked it Recommends it for: futbol fans. Shelves: bins. A useful overview of Spanish futbol, and its influence on the cultures and history that make up the various regions of Spain.

Looking at other reviews, I find criticisms of the author's Catalan orthography: for me, knowing neither Catalan nor Spanish, the problem was his English diction and punctuation, particularly his erratic use of commas, which made me reread passages to glean his meaning. It's that sort of thing that always drives a man to reading fiction. Jun 01, Fiona rated it really liked it Shelves: spain , history-non-fiction , non-fiction , sport. I never thought I would enjoy that has sport as it's main theme, however this book is well written and researched and has a lot of historical facts about Spain woven into the sports stories.

May 01, Brian rated it really liked it Shelves: reading-challenge. If I wasn't a fan of the team before, I am now. Not my fave, but a healthy respect and admiration.

JJ the Books4Spain cat picking the winner of La Roja

Can't wait for the World Cup! Apr 04, Hector A is currently reading it. It was a sport that many people from Spain enjoy playing. The people living in this country were very excited and happy to be recognized as one of the best teams to go to the world cup. It takes a lot for a team to get to this level. This book would get anyone interested and wanting to keep reading it.

It teaches you a lot about the importance of soccer and the way people got popular through it. This book will have a positive impact on the audience. It will have a positive impact on the audience because it talks about the important teams of Spain. It also talks about the teams that lead the country to the champion leagues and the world cups. In the book the author talks about its rival real Madrid which is also part of Spain. These teams are both part of Spain but when it comes to soccer they are rivals. They loved to be entertained by 2 of the best teams in the world. Each year both teams had their records, but what matter was that they were both part of Spain.

It can teach the audience about how important the sport was to the people in Spain. The people that are interested in the soccer are really going to enjoy this book. It takes people back to the time the sport was first played. It talks about the cities that the sport was played in. The cities that they played in were Madrid, Barcelona, Busque, Catalan and more. This book also talks about the way each city had its own country and their language. It also talks about the legends that made the sport very famous and exciting.

I believe the books main focus was on the people that played the sport, politicians and mainly their fans.

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It gives interesting biographies about each good player. They are the ones that come out and support the players playing the beautiful sport. I would recommend this book to many of my friends. They enjoy playing soccer and they also have their favorite players. One of my closes friend favorite players is Beckham. In the book they talk about Beckham going to play at Spain. He is one the best players in the world and also the highest pay.

Real Madrid was willing to pay for as much money as he asked. They talk about Beckham going to play in Spain. That is his favorite team and his favorite player. Beckham been part of Spain made history. He helped Real Madrid and he also helped Spain become more famous. It gives you history of every important game that Spain was part of and the games that were won by them.


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I was still able to visualize what happen during certain events and I also visualize the players. I knew half of the ones mentioned in the book and that helped me more. It was a very interesting and great book about the way soccer was spread all over the world. I enjoyed it and I know whoever else reads the book will enjoy it too. Delving, as it does, into Spain, "La Roja," has as much to do with politics as with that country's world champion national soccer team.

Jimmy Burns has written an amenable yet substantive story about how Spain went from a bullfighting nation to kings of international football. He goes way back to the s and an English-owned mine in Huelva where the first games of football were played exclusively by Brits. The journalistic knitting continues as Basque teams assert primacy and then Argentines co Delving, as it does, into Spain, "La Roja," has as much to do with politics as with that country's world champion national soccer team.

The journalistic knitting continues as Basque teams assert primacy and then Argentines come to enliven the game with a quick passing style. Burns's chronicling of Barcelona F. C's role as an expression of Catalan culture and its rivalry with Real Madrid is deftly woven into discussion of the defeated Republic, the Monarchy, the Falange and, poignantly, the names of soccer players killed during the Spanish Civil War. Noteworthy, too, is Burns's analysis of the Franco dictatorship's aggressive engagement with football as a tool to soothe tensions on the Iberian peninsula, as a propaganda weapon, and as diplomatic entry to worlds otherwise closed to the regime.

Burns suggests Franco made the Spanish national team a projection of homegrown fascism. A group possessing the "racial" qualities of true and pure Spaniards, and which brought to the playing field a particular "Spanish Fury. Like many people in Spain who had little time for the national selection over the years, Burns believes that the "The Spanish Fury" amounted to a whole lot of nothing, and that success in world-class tournaments would be elusive until a more modern and technical conception of Spanish soccer could be born.

Of course it happened. An unprecedented kind of success for such a national outfit. Although his lead-up to the latest and most glorious chapter in Spanish soccer is first-rate, this reviewer did not find Burns very clear on why the ultimate transformation occurred. Was it a special generation of players who learned how to transcend the rivalries carried over from the club level? Ditching Raul? Was it David Beckham's impact as a media and celebrity item on future Spanish stars? The Argentines?

Maybe it's in there, but in any case, "La Roja" remains an always engaging look at a sudden dynasty. Its author understands soccer as culture and an expression of collective identities without forgetting that it is still sport.

La roja: a journey through Spanish football

Dec 01, Raul rated it it was ok. That a book like this exists is a good thing. Unfortunately, the author fails in weaving the history of Spanish soccer into a cohesive narrative and instead reduces the subject to a laundry list of anecdotes and soccer celebrities: "There was this coach who did this and that. Oh, there was also this other player that And that reminds me of this story where You cannot claim to be an authority on any Spanish subject if you cannot spell correctly the names of people and places.

This leads me to the biggest gripe I have with this book: you cannot write a book that has F. And, well, it shows the ignorance and hurts the credibility of the author who cannot be bothered to refer to the soccer team by its correct name, which is, on top of it all, spelled out correctly in all the team's official soccer merchandise! All the author had to do was read the name on a track jacket or on a uniform Mar 30, Ty rated it really liked it. Along the way, we get to learn a lot about the interactions between the various regions of the country, Basque, Catalan, etc.

Viva Barca, mes que un club! Dec 28, Josh Brown rated it it was ok Shelves: spain-flamenco. Burns provides a great deal of information regarding the history of Spanish players, rivalries, and clubs as well as an overall history and evolution of soccer on Spanish soil. He tends to skip around quite a bit, but I suppose that is to be expected in a book of this sort.

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He also repeats himself many times - and when I say "repeat", I mean essentially cut and paste his own words repeatedly to describe subjects in identical phrases over and over sometimes even in the same chapter, as the case Burns provides a great deal of information regarding the history of Spanish players, rivalries, and clubs as well as an overall history and evolution of soccer on Spanish soil. He also repeats himself many times - and when I say "repeat", I mean essentially cut and paste his own words repeatedly to describe subjects in identical phrases over and over sometimes even in the same chapter, as the case was with Vicente del Bosque towards the end of the book.

I find this to be quite unprofessional and it tells me that not much editing went on between he and the publisher. Overall, La Roja was highly informative but tended to drag and only skim the surface of a wide variety of subjects. Finally, the writing was not very engaging. Jul 13, Caleb rated it it was ok.

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A massively underwhelming effort. The review made it sound like an interesting take by a well-regarded newspaper columnist on soccer in Spain.

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The result starts out decently and then tails off. It skips around so much at times I wondered if my book was missing pages. Other stretches at the back started repeating anecdotes from 25 pages before. What's stranger, the whole point was about Spain finally triumphing in soccer at Euro 08, WC 10, and Euro However, there is literally a page on Euro 0 A massively underwhelming effort. Home Non Fiction Books.

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