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Culture » Arts & Entertainment

Book Reviews

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How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization


By Franklin Foer (Harper Collins: New York, N.Y.)


Accepting perhaps the cushiest assignment ever, Foer checks out his favorite game in Brazil, Belgrade, Tehran and his native Washington, D.C., using it as a window into globalization. He enters each city and team with the sprit of a true fan, emerging with impressions so vivid they feel like they’ve been whispered into your ear over a pint of lager. Foer never tries to cobble these snapshots into a cohesive theory, but that’s actually to his credit. One of the problems with globalization as a theory is that it flattens out cultural differences. Foer revels in them, finding African players signed up in chilly Ukrainian leagues, and Bulgarian strikers who adopt Catalonian pride in Barcelona. With this superbly written and elegantly reported book, Foer has humped his way around the world and brought back a kaleidoscopic view of a vibrant game and the people who believe in it.

—John Freeman


The Intruders: Unreasonable Searches and Seizures From King John to John AshcroftBy Sam Dash (Rutgers University Press: Piscataway, N.J.)


One of the most terrifying moments in Fahrenheit 9/11 is hearing how Congress didn’t even read the Patriot Act before they voted on it; a simple glance at the powers it gives government will make one realize how far civil rights have rolled back. In The Intruders, Dash places these startling new powers in context of a two-century debate on the Fourth Amendment. This might sound like obscure material, but it is essential reading: unreasonable searches and seizures by British officers sparked the American Revolution. Dash is right to examine this argument again now, since none of the prior incursions on Fourth Amendment rights during wartime—from the internment of Japanese-Americans during World Word II to Red Scare roundups—proved useful. The question remains: What exactly does our government plan to do with these powers? Dash compellingly argues why we ought to repeal them before we have the misfortune to find out. —JF