Soccer in Sun and Shadow
One of Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 Sports Books of All Time—a history of soccer as mesmerizing as the game itself
The beautiful game deserves a beautiful book, and Eduardo Galeano—one of Latin America’s most acclaimed authors—has written it. From Aztec champions sacrificed to appease the gods, to the goals that were literally scored into wooden posts in Victorian England, to Spain’s victory in the 2010 World Cup, Soccer in Sun and Shadow is a history of the sport unlike any other.
Galeano portrays the irruption of South American soccer that made the game sublime: the elegant, mischievous, joyful style based on deft dribbling, close passes, and quick changes in rhythm, perfected by poor black children who had no toy but a rag ball. He describes the superstitions that vex players, the martyrdom of referees, the exquisite misery of fans, the sad denouement of stars past their prime.
Striding across the pages are players born with the ball—and entire nations—at their feet: Arthur Friedenreich, the son of a German immigrant and a black washerwoman, who first brought Brazilian style from the slums into the stadiums; Brazil’s Garrincha, whose body, warped by polio, could make the ball dance; and the Dutch great Ruud Gullit, who campaigned against apartheid on and off the pitch. And, of course, Beckenbauer, Pelé, Cruyff, and Maradona, a man blessed with “the hand of God” and a left foot equally as divine.
Soccer in Sun and Shadow traces the rise of the soccer industry and the concurrent voyage “from beauty to duty”: attempts to impose a soccer of lightning speed and brute force, one that disdains fantasy and forfeits play for results. Eduardo Galeano, who describes himself as “a beggar for good soccer,” gives the world’s most popular sport all the poetry, passion, and politics it deserves.
- Pub Date
- Open Road Integrated Media
“It’s all here. Everything you should know about soccer, the world’s game.” —Los Angeles Times
“This updated edition serves as a reminder that this is not just a classic sports book. . . . On virtually every page, Galeano uses a phrase or sentence that will leave readers in awe of his gifts.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Stands out like Pelé on a field of second-stringers.” —The New Yorker
“Since its first publication in 1995 . . . this book has been relentlessly quoted, and for good reason. The author who pleads, ‘A pretty move, for the love of God,’ has an eye for beauty, a feel for the game, a sense of proportion—and a gift for putting it all into words. . . . An indispensible addition to soccer collections.” —Booklist, starred review
“Between poetic descriptions of scores by famous players, Galeano provides political context and commentary. . . . A winning celebration of the beautiful game.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[A] beautiful ode to the beautiful game.” —Sports Illustrated
About the author
Eduardo Galeano (1940-2015) was one of Latin America's most distinguished writers. He was the author of the trilogy Memory of Fire, Open Veins of Latin America, Soccer in Sun and Shadow, Days and Nights of Love and War, The Book of Embraces, Walking Words, Voices of Time, Upside Down, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone, and Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History. Born in Montevideo, he lived in exile in Argentina and Spain for years before returning to Uruguay. His work has inspired popular and classical composers and playwrights from all over the world and has been translated into twenty-eight languages. He was the recipient of many international prizes, including the first Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom, the American Book Award, the Casa de las Américas Prize, and the First Distinguished Citizen of the region by the countries of Mercosur.
Photo Credit: Daniel Dabove