Soccer: A History of the World’s Most Popular Game

by Mark Stewart
Overall: 2 out of 5 stars

Category: Nonfiction – Sports

Personal Evaluation: I could tell from the Table of Contents that this book was going to be a challenge. It had one chapter for the whole text of the book, and then listed the Appendices. It probably would be easier to read if the author had actually broken it up into chapters, but instead he just went through the history of the game chronologically, with a strong focus on World Cups and soccer in America. Since it was published in 1998, readers would also probably benefit from an updated version or a different (and more recent) book on soccer, since the sport’s standing in this country seems to be shifting. The author is quite prolific in writing about sports and athletes and lists a full page of books and websites to visit for further reading, but I’m not sure citing yourself counts as authority.

What might interest children: This is definitely a book for an older reader, probably 7th-8th grade. There are not too many pictures and lots of text on each page, and not too much organization (other than chronological). There is a detailed index but in terms of the content, not too much to keep interest or give context. For example, at the end of the text is a “Modern Soccer Timeline” which says things like “The Sheffield Football Club – the oldest team still in existence – is formed” but does not say where exactly this team is from (though an educated guess would be England). I was underwhelmed but probably a kid who’s really into soccer would get a lot out of it.

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