We have in the past noted the paucity of books about football among sports writing’s most cherished tomes (though there have been a few). Even in the list of “The Best Sports Journalism Ever” that I posted recently, there was only a single football piece represented (the Plimpton), and it is only obliquely about football. So, when I saw The Week (one of my favorite magazines) had highlighted not one but four football books in its most recent issue, I thought it worth noting. They are: Boys Will Be Boys by Jeff Pearlman about the hard partying Cowboys during the team’s dynasty of the 1990s; Giants Among Men by Jack Cavanaugh harks back to the New York Giants of the ’50s and ’60s and looks at football as it was in a much different era; War as They Knew It by Michael Rosenberg covers the Michigan versus Ohio State football rivalry during the tumultuous 2970s on college campuses; and Playing the Enemy by John Carlin is not quite about football but brings to light how a single rugby game in South Africa helped the country begin healing as apartheid ended.
Meanwhile, in the comments of the original sports writing post, bdr mentions a pair of books that give the literary treatment to that other, other football: soccer.
“(Excellent) novelist Tim Parks wrote a book about following Serie A squad Hellas Verona around Italy for a season (as they tried to avoid relegation – unsuccessfully) with its hardest-core fans called A Season with Verona, that’s terrific.
“Philip Ball, who covers soccer for The Guardian, wrote a book about Spain, Spanish history, and how it all plays out in Spanish football called Morbo that’s even better.”