News Live Scores Weekend Special: The Best Football Books - Part II

The books are in no particular order. You can read the first part of the series here.

11. Calcio: A History Of Italian Football (John Foot)

John Foot's painstaking research gifts all football followers a fascinating history of Italian football. Calcio: A History Of Italian Football is an exhaustive study of football in Italy from its foundations through its formative stages to the modern period. Foot gives each and every aspect of Italian football its due importance and in his pretty much direct but convincing prose explains Italian football in quite a neutral perspective, but does not feel shy to add his own perception of the game in the country. Foot explains the workings of the various factors that make Italian football what it is, the culture, the politics, racism, violence, beauty, intellectualism, aestheticism and the like. John Foot is meticulous enough to explain the various jargons used in calcio and also outlines the careers of some of the greatest ever players to have featured in Italian football. Calcio is one gem of a book on Italian football, probably the English language bible of the Italian game.

12. The Miracle Of Castel di Sangro (Joe McGinniss)

Joe McGinniss might come from a country where football is called soccer but in The Miracle Of Castel di Sandro he charts the fortunes of a tiny Italian club featuring in the lofty regions of the Serie B for the first time in its history. ASD Castel di Sangro Calcio gained promotion to the Serie B for the 1996-1997 season and McGinniss is there to chronologically describe the season. Perhaps McGinniss's detailed description of some of the basics of the game intend to make it seem as if he is explaining football to people who don't know much about it, but overall this book is a very pleasant read and like Tim Parks's A Season With Verona informs readers about emotions that fans of the non-elite clubs undergo.

13. Barca: A People's Passion (Jimmy Burns)

Jimmy Burns's Barca: A People's Passion is a chronological history of one of the biggest clubs in the world and one of the two most successful in Spain, FC Barcelona. Burns's approach to this project is pretty much direct, with an expressive but incisive detail of the history of the Catalan club from its foundations through the period of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s to the modern era. Burns's prose trembles with Catalan nationalism and it is easily understandable how much passion the author has instilled into his book. Barca: A People's Passion is a must-read book for anyone who wants to know everything about the history of Barcelona and bask in it.

14. Football Against The Enemy (Simon Kuper)

Simon Kuper's Football Against The Enemy is the product of his travels to over 20 countries across the world in order to comprehend the various colours of football. This book explores the distinctive approach the countries take towards football and portrays the differences in footballing styles in different countries. Football Against The Enemy is a story about football in which the game is perceived differently by different people around the world and about how the underlying dark forces of corruption play an important role in shaping the footballing world.

15. Behind The Curtain: Travels in Eastern European Football (Jonathan Wilson)

Jonathan Wilson's Behind The Curtain: Travels In Eastern European Football intertwines football with pretty much everything else in the eastern part of Europe. Wilson absorbs the reader into several intriguing footballing stories in eastern Europe, a region perhaps not as explored as the rest of the continent football-wise. Wilson's book centres on the sport and its attachment to the region's culture and politics. Behind The Curtain can seem a guide to eastern European football at times and to eastern Europe on occasions and is a hugely insightful study of the depths of what is an unknown entity to many.

16. How Football Explains The World - An Unlikely Theory Of Globalization (Franklin Foer)

Franklin Foer's How Football Explains The World is a study of how the sport of football is perceived in various parts of the world and what meaning football assumes in those parts. The book contains a series of chapters in which various cultures are perceived through the prism of football as Foer examines the political and cultural factors affecting eastern Europe, Iran, Scotland and other places and looks at some of the dark forces such as racism, anti-Semitism and media manipulation that affect the sport.

17. Goalless: The Story Of A Unique Footballing Nation (Boria Majumdar & Kausik Bandyopadhyay)

Goalless is the story of Indian football and is a perfect example of what sheer will and endeavour augmented by exhaustive research can produce. Boria Majumdar and Kausik Bandyopadhyay delve deep into the heart of Indian football and find out facts and information that even the most fanatical of Indian football follower would not be aware of. The book is replete with fascinating stories about Indian football, such as Mohammed Salim becoming the first Indian to play for Celtic in the 1930s and the Mohun Bagan-East Bengal rivalry tracking its roots to the Ghati-Bangal animosity. An insightful book written in a very smooth style.

18. Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life (Alex Bellos)

Alex Bellos's study of Brazilian football finds its expression in Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life. This is an attempt to understand and answer the beauty and enigma that is Brazilian football and is much more than a mere account of the nation's footballing history. Bellos goes deep into the heart of Brazilian football and Brazilian way of life to understand just what makes Brazilian football so very special and so very popular, taking care to pen the game's absurdity too. Futebol is a marvelous way to observe football in Brazil from a closer distance and a great way to know about the legends of the game.

19. Soccer In A Football World: The Story Of America's Forgotten Game (David Wangerin)

David Wangerin's Soccer in a Football World is a historical account of the sport in the USA. This is a book that tells the story of football (or soccer) in America from its foundations and outlines the several reasons for the world’s most popular game not getting the same importance or same adulation in the world's most powerful nation. Wangerin's brilliant research informs the readers about how the game was played in the States in the early 20th century and is a comprehensive literature about the growth of the sport there.

20. The Italian Job (Gianluca Vialli & Gabriele Marcotti)

The Italian Job is an attempt to understand the footballing cultures in England and Italy and to find out the similarities and differences between two of the heavyweights in world football. Gianluca Vialli is a footbaling legend and has played both in Italy and in England while Gabriele Marcotti is a well-known sportswriter who works as the European football correspondent for The Times. Vialli’s experience of playing in both nations and Marcotti's understanding of the game as a journalist merge together to make this book a delightful read and a marvelous approach to understanding the cultural factors underlying the playing style in these two nations.

A few more football books worth reading.....

21. The First 100 Years, The Scottish Football League (Bob Crampsey)

22. Inverting the Pyramid: A History of Football Tactics (Jonathan Wilson)

23. Gerrard: My Autobiography (Steven Gerrard)

24. Gazza: My Story (Paul Gascoigne)

25. Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football (David Winner)

Subhankar Mondal