Reviews from Amazon.com for Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism
"Not just for soccer fans"
October 23, 2001
Reviewer: Marie Sandy from Claremont, CA United States
I enjoyed this book a great deal. It is about much more than soccer, although soccer does take center stage,of course! Anyone at all interested in soccer (as in watching and being a fan, not just playing) should read it. The book is also about the relationship between modern sports and society, and most importantly, how and why the United States is both different and similar to other modern nations regarding its sports culture, or "sports space" as the authors phrase it. Much of this argument is presented in the first chapter, which some might find intimidating due to the heavy amount of references to traditional academic literature. But those who stick with it will be rewarded with the author's incisive analysis to the subject matter, and the book does become an easier read along the way. The second chapter provides a good historical analysis of American sports space overall (e.g., key developments in the history of baseball, basketball,etc.), including the reasons for soccer's perceived absense from the scene. Soccer fans will enjoy the third chapter, where the authors present the history of soccer in the U.S., which they continue to analyze in Chapter 5. Throughout the book is an important discussion of the development of the modern American sports culture, providing the context for understanding how soccer does and does not fit into that space.
Overall, this is a book well worth reading for anyone interested in American culture in general, or for those into the American sports scene in particular -- soccer fans, of course, will love it. As a fan of women's sports, I appreciated the authors' portrayal and analysis of women's soccer, most notably the 1999 Women's World Cup, though I disagree with their view of the "marginalization" of women's sports in general, women's basketball in particular. And, I wish that the authors would have taken the time to devote a chapter to the 1999 Women's World Cup -- HELD IN THE U.S. -- in the same way that they did for the men's World Cups of '94 and '98. In general, however, I felt this was an excellent book, deserving of 5 stars.
Please also visit Andy Markovits' official
University of Michigan website