Archived entries for Book Reviews

Cycling Books 2012

Accompanied by an exclusive illustration of Victoria Pendleton by the artist Lilly Allen for The Substantive, Mark Perryman declares Cycling ‘Sport of the Year’ and chooses his favourite books from 2012 inspired by life on two wheels. Details of The Substantive t-shirt with a Lilly Allen design at the bottom of this piece.

Never mind the BBC hyped-up hoopla of ‘Sports Personality of the Year’, for most successful British sport of 2012 surely nothing comes close to cycling. An extraordinary first, and second, places for British riders in the Tour de France, a hatful of medals in the Olympic velodrome, more on the road too, and by the autumn a new generation of winners breaking through on the track in the World Cup series too. The achievements, matched by an explosion of popular participation is truly breathtaking. Continue reading…

Football Books – Christmas 2012

Mark Perryman, co-founder of Philosophy Football, on a batch of football books for Christmas.

Twenty years on from the 1992 publication of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch it might be assumed that there wouldn’t be any subjects football-wise remaining to write a half-decent book about. It’s true there’s a lot of dross (personally I avoid almost all ghost-written player biographies like the plague) but there’s also enough fine writers – some new, some vintage – to still provide a literary football sparkle. Continue reading…

Britain’s Outside Right

Mark Perryman reviews Daniel Trilling’s new book on the British far right.

Daniel Trilling has been for some time one of the few mainstream political journalists to take the British Far Right seriously. While at various moments anti-fascism has been a galvanising force for wide sections of the Left, the centre ground has too often been dominated by the wish that if only the BNP’s opponents would ignore them then the BNP and others like them would go away. Trilling’s achievement is to confront the dangers of this passivity and reveal the frightening consequences of leaving the Far Right to their own hateful and violent devices.

Bloody Nasty People is an ambitious mix of journalism, investigation and political analysis. The journalism mainly consists of spending time with a number of key figures on the Far Right. The culture of those drawn to Fascism remains largely a mystery to their opponents, and more particularly the milieu of casual support and voters that the BNP in particular at its height was able to mobilise. In an earlier period, the mid to late 1970s, Martin Walker produced the definitive account of the resistible rise of the National Front. Brilliantly written, Walker’s book The National Front read like a spinechilling thriller as he detailed how a neo nazi fringe moved into a position of becoming a mass movement focussed on anti-immigration and repatriation. Trilling seeks to equal the to-date unmatched achievement of Walker’s book and he comes admirably close. Continue reading…

An Alternate Olympics Manifesto

Joanne Sheppard reviews Mark Perryman’s book, released ahead of London 2012: ‘Why The Olympics Aren’t Good For Us, And How They Can Be ‘.

I’m very excited about the London Olympics. In fact, I get excited about any Olympics, regardless of the host city. I even get excited about the winter ones where we only stand a chance in curling and that event where people slide down a hill on their bellies while lying on a tea-tray. I’ll happily sit for hours watching people I’ve never heard of compete in a sport I know nothing about. Taekwondo? Archery? Fencing? Bring ’em on. Continue reading…

Football Writing – More of the not-so-same

 

Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football reviews 2012’s early crop of new football writing

In early March BBC Radio 4 broadcast Fever Pitched, the first of many, and well-deserved, retrospectives to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. This was a book that both sparked a trend in football writing, the fan confessional, while reflecting a whole range of changes in the way the game is consumed in the wake of the huge success of Italia ‘90. Continue reading…

Occupying Wall Street/It’s Kicking Off Everywhere

Occupying Wall Street

Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football reviews two instant accounts of 2011’s Year of Protest.

There’s not much doubt that for the foreseeable future 2011 will be remembered as the ‘Year of Protest’. When a mainstream magazine like Time selects ‘The Protester’ as their cover-story 2011 Person of the Year then something of significance is clearly happening. Though whether the last twelve months will in the long-term come to represent anything as significant as 1989’s fall of the Berlin Wall or 1968’s extraordinary mix of Paris, Prague and Vietnam is probably too early to judge. Continue reading…

The Ghost of White Hart Lane

The 2010-2011 English Football Season came to an end on a very hot afternoon in London, on Saturday 4th June, as an average England side came back from two-goals to draw a European Championship Qualifier at home to Switzerland in an early evening game at Wembley Stadium.

I wasn’t at Wembley that day, as I had been a week earlier, when I had a front-row view as Barcelona won the European Cup in style, playing an attacking passing-and-moving game; instead I watched England, playing a game barely recognisable to the one Barca played on the same pitch seven days earlier, in a pub in Stoke Newington.

Continue reading…



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