Archived entries for Book Reviews

End of Year Book Reviews 2013

Morrissey Book Review

Mark Perryman recommends some late Christmas book buying with politics and culture to the fore with his end of year Book Reviews 2013.

Cheer up, it could be worse? Well, under this hapless government probably not but a bit of seasonal present-giving might at least keep the temptations of miserabilism at bay. 2014 will mark the start of the 1914 centenary hoopla, you know the thing ‘The War to End All Wars’ and all that guff. A superb read therefore over the 12 days would be the poetry collection compiled by Carol Ann Duffy 1914 Poetry Remembers, moving and thought-provoking from the War Poets and today’s verse-writers too. An equally moving recollection is provided by Nicholas Rankin’s Telegram from Guernica. The extraordinary story of war reporter George Steer, and in particular how he smuggled out from Spain in full gruesome detail the horrific impact of the carpet bombing of Guernica. Steer was part of that 1930s generation who across the political spectrum were decisively shaped by the cause of anti-fascism. Idealism and commitment from another era, and continent in Beverley Naidoo’s beautifully written Death of An Idealist. Told in graphic and merciless detail, the tale of the murder by the Apartheid authorities of a young, white, doctor who had dedicated himself to providing medical help in South Africa’s Black townships. Continue reading…

Latest 2013 Book Review: Inspiring Better Days

Difficult Men Book Review

Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football with his latest 2013 book review looks at new writing that inspire better days.

As the almost instantly forgettable party conference season disappears over the horizon the Westminster bubble political landscape would be hard pushed to inspire anybody much at all. For hope of a better, different, tomorrow we must increasingly draw on other traditions from beyond the mainstream, contemporary and out of history, challenging the narrow definition of politics the parliamentary parties depend upon for their sorry version of legitimacy. Continue reading…

Sound of the Crowd

Sound of the Crowd 1882 Book Cover

Martin Cloake’s latest book on Tottenham Hotspur, Sound of the Crowd, takes in the sub-culture of the football fan, from fanzines, independent organisation and protest, while giving a first-hand insight into past battles from the late eighties with the club he loves to the parallels of a new Spurs supporter movement.

Continue reading…

Sports Books Summer 2013

Red or Dead

Mark Perryman rounds up the Sports Books of summer 2013.

The Lions series victory in Australia, Murray’s triumph at Wimbledon, Froome making it two British Le Tour wins in a row, Mo in Moscow, a home Ashes win as well. Summer sporting success is something the Brits are starting to become accustomed to.

Two new books help us to understand the meaning of sport’s enduring, and huge popularity, as well as how economic and social change impacts on the organisation, consumption and performance of sport. Sport in Capitalist Society by Tony Collins is a highly readable historical account from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day of how capitalism has served to shape sport. Victorian morality, Empire, the Cold War, globalisation and much more are each detailed in terms of how they served to change sport. Add all the insights together and a comprehensive picture of today’s marketisation of sport is provided. Edited by Michael Lavalette Capitalism and Sport has a more activist-based approach to the subject. The range is amazing, including cycling, cricket, rugby league, tennis, football and more. The tone is angry yet never fails to be appreciative of the sports the authors clearly hugely enjoy despite their opposition to the economic structure that frames their fandom and participation. An invaluable guide for sporting summers past, present and future. Continue reading…

Recess Reading

Undercover by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis

Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football latest book reviews of reading with popular culture including music, travel, food and history, all with a bit of politics thrown in. 

The silly season? For the Westminster bubble it would be hard to identify a month in the year when ‘silly’ isn’t too soft an epithet to describe what most MPs get up to, supposedly on our behalf. But with Parliament in recess the commentariat like to spread the idea that politics is taking a break too. A politics reduced to the Cameron v Miliband knockabout is something plenty of us can’t get to the beach quick enough to escape from. A broader definition of politics, one that engages with the everyday, the popular, the cultural is something that subverts and is the starting point for a political summer books list that would liven up any reading to be done on the beach, or anywhere else for that matter.

One of the sharpest critics of popular culture is surely the inestimable Paul Morley. For those of a certain age we began reading him in the late 1970’s in the then vital weekly fix that was the New Musical Express at the height of punk , and after that post-punk too. In his new book The North Paul returns to his geographical roots, mainly though not exclusively in the North-West, with a sparkling account rich in history and insight to bring light to a region traditionally regarded by those down south as a bit on the grim side. Continue reading…

Sports Books

Running

 

Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football reviews the latest batch of sports books on The Substantive.

In England there’s no sportswriter quite like Dave Zirin. He writes about sport from the Left with such passion and style that readers will never spot the join. An American, the bias is unsurprisingly towards baseball, basketball and their own bastardised version of ‘football’, yet both the issues raised and his range of coverage are unmistakably internationalist. Continue reading…

Spring Book Review

bedsit disco queen

Philosophy Football’s Mark Perryman’s latest batch of Book Reviews includes books on society, politics, sport and music. Continue reading…

Weapons of Choice

physical resistance book cover

With links to reading from independent sources, Philosophy Football’s Mark Perryman previews books to look out for in the first quarter of 2013.

I have an old lefty badge somewhere ‘Books are Weapons’. Reading, and wearing badges, are never enough alone, but we live in an era of unprecedented austerity, with an urgent challenge that the threat of Climate Change should be posing almost all conventional definitions of growth, and an enduring disarray of oppositional politics, so finding the time for a good read to provoke both thought and action is as good a New Year resolution as I can think of. And despite the mind-numbing dullness of the political mainstream, thankfully there’s still plenty to savour in the margins. Continue reading…

I am The Secret Footballer

I am The Secret Footballer

Of all the many football books that have been released over the years the magic ingredient from someone inside the game is always insight, from Steve Claridge’s training sessions in Tales From The Boot Camp where Harry Redknapp was fixing the stopwatch to win a bet with his player to Martin Peters retelling in his autobiography how he was once asked play at right-back for Norwich as he was the only player intelligent enough to exploit the space available that day.

Every morsel of the previously unknown can become interesting, including the reasoning of Glenn Hoddle’s choice of Kenny G to ease the nerves of his players ahead of them finding out if they made the cut for the 1998 World Cup in his diary to the revelation that Bob Dylan’s Positively 4th Street was Roy Keane’s favourite song in the Appendix of his own autobiography.

From the little observations within the dressing room environment to the tactics on a matchday, via some cracking anecdotes about nights out and trips abroad, I am The Secret Footballer has insight aplenty. And in addition to the detail, the Secret Footballer has a knack of constantly hitting the nail on the head like Lionel Messi does of finding the net. Continue reading…

VSP’s 2012 Tottenham Hotspur Books

Ahead of Christmas, the independent sports publisher, Vision Sports Publishing have released a couple of books about Tottenham Hotspur that are tailor made for fans with an interest in immersing themselves in the history of the club.

The Glory Glory Nights by Martin Cloake and Adam Powley is a genuine thing of beauty. An update of a book that had press cuttings, brief match summaries and facts from every European tie up until English clubs were expelled from Europe in the mid-eighties, it now comprehensively covers the first fifty years of the club’s European exploits with stunning photographs, insightful interviews, and most importantly, context across six decades. Continue reading…



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