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Books > History > Americas > South America > Argentina > B01DWVG8FE
  1. Angels with Dirty Faces: How Argentinian Soccer Defined a Nation and Changed the Game Forever
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  2. Angels with Dirty Faces: How Argentinian Soccer Defined a Nation and Changed the Game Forever

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The Masterful, Definitive History of Argentinian Soccer

Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Alfredo Di Stéfano: in every generation Argentina has uncovered a uniquely brilliant soccer talent. Perhaps it's because the country lives and breathes the game, its theories, and its myths. Argentina's rich, volatile history—by turns sublime and ruthlessly pragmatic—is mirrored in the style and swagger of its national and club sides. In Angels with Dirty Faces, Jonathan Wilson chronicles the operatic drama of Argentinian soccer: the appropriation of the British game, the golden age of la nuestra, the exuberant style of playing that developed as Juan Perón led the country, a hardening into the brutal methods of anti-fútbol, the fusion of beauty and efficacy under César Luis Menotti, and the emergence of all-time greats.

Praise for Inverting the Pyramid

“Here, for the first time in decades, is a top-notch soccer book on how soccer is actually played on the field.” —Simon Kuper

“An outstanding work. . . . The soccer book of the decade.” —Sunday Business Post

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Jonathan Wilson
Kindle Edition
Kindle eBook
Nation Books
Nation Books
Nation Books
Nation Books
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

It is impressive not only the knowledge, but the level the accuracy and understanding of local issues that Mr. Wilson shows.

The book is able to unveil some information even to an old Argentine man, very fond of foot-ball, which is my case. It is a nice and funny experience to read some very local facts by the guy that writes at The Guardian!, with full accuracy ..., as if it were written in Spanish by a local journalist. Despite the huge barrier that a different culture and language is supposed to represent to grasp some facts, the book incredibly maintains the local flavor. Wilson also has a good understanding of Buenos Aires "lunfardo" (slang), and gets the deep meaning of some expresssions, which clearly helped him to write such an outstanding work.
Jonathan Wilson is probably one of the best scholars of the game. This book is a comprehensive, time-spanning, and thorough look at Argentinian soccer. It doesn't seem to miss anything, and covers all of the most important aspects of the country's footballing history.

However, the book lacks a bit of romance - Wilson tries often to tie the political scene of Argentina (often a contentious one) as it relates to football. While the two are undoubtedly intertwined, it never really feels believable in this book. It feels more like parallel events that overlap slightly, but it doesn't really capture the wholly intertwined aspect of football and politics, revolution, geopolitical events, etc. It feels a bit forced.

Along the same lines, it often starts to read more like an encyclopedia or anthology vs. a story or historical literature. Many times I found myself zoning out because the book was just describing a relatively mundane match that didn't feel all that... Read more
This is a well told story that covers the history of Argentinian soccer both within - the Argentina league - and without - in international competitions - the country. It also integrates the broader story of Argentina such as the dictatorship's attempt to use the 1978 world cup to enhance Argentina's reputation on the international stage. Though the book is not extremely technical, those without at least an intermediate level understanding of soccer tactics may wish to have Wilson's other book, Inverting the Pyramid, on hand to provide some background on the evolution of soccer more broadly. Overall, well worth the effort, even for those whose love of soccer is based largely on the European game.
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