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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 262

The author of How Soccer Explains the World is Franklin Foer, who was at the time of publication (2001) the editor of the magazine New Republic. Foer is a journalist whose interest in soccer dovetailed with his journalistic desire to investigate the forces of globalization that received so much notoriety in the late 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s. The book's focus, in short, is the relationship between the world's game and the forces of globalization. His thesis is that soccer demonstrates that globalization has failed to wipe out inequalities on the one hand and local animosities and nationalisms on the other. In other words, its effects have been exaggerated by its critics and its defenders. As evidence, Foer uses a wide variety of examples, ranging from gangster hooligans in Serbia to "bourgeois nationalists" that support FC Barcelona, in support of his argument. In the end, this is a book as much about the forces of globalization, including its beneficiaries and those who have lost out, as it is about football. Foer's book should be read in context—much has changed in the world and in the global game since its publication. But it remains an astute account of the relationship between global football and the larger forces that helped carry it into far-flung corners of the globe. It is also quite prophetic in its account of the role oligarchs and large corporations played in its expansion. The Premier League, La Liga, and other European leagues rake in billions in television dollars and are watched by billions of fans around the globe.

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