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Soccer Empire

The World Cup and the Future of France

Laurent Dubois (Author)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 352 pages
ISBN: 9780520259287
June 2010
$48.95, £41.00
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When France both hosted and won the World Cup in 1998, the face of its star player, Zinedine Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, was projected onto the Arc de Triomphe. During the 2006 World Cup finals, Zidane stunned the country by ending his spectacular career with an assault on an Italian player. In Soccer Empire, Laurent Dubois illuminates the connections between empire and sport by tracing the story of World Cup soccer, from the Cup’s French origins in the 1930s to Africa and the Caribbean and back again. As he vividly recounts the lives of two of soccer’s most electrifying players, Zidane and his outspoken teammate, Lilian Thuram, Dubois deepens our understanding of the legacies of empire that persist in Europe and brilliantly captures the power of soccer to change the nation and the world.
List of Illustrations
Preface: Scoring Spirits

Introduction: The Language of Happiness

1. A Beautiful Harvest
2. Caribbean France
3. Crossings
4. Roots
5. Two Goals
6. Two Flags
7. La France Métissée
8. An Unfinished War
9. Reconciliation
10. Burn
11. Coup de Boule

Epilogue: Returns

Laurent Dubois is Professor of French and History at Duke University. He is the author of many award-winning books, including Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution, which was a Best Book of the Los Angeles Times and a Notable Book of the Christian Science Monitor.
“An intriguing tale of soccer within the matrix of France’s history of colonialism.” STARRED REVIEW—Library Journal
“Drills down to uncover the relationship among politics, race and the legacy of empire.”—The New York Times
“Excellent”—Chronicle Of Higher Education
“hThe tale of how even the most seemingly apolitical institutions in a society can become the battlegrounds for its most pressing questions of identity and ambition -- and give us a really fun game to boot.”—
“The best, most important contribution to soccer scholarship to date. . . .A timely and wonderful book.”—A.-P. Durand Choice
“Soccer Empire has a heart that beats louder than most, and is all the better for it.”—Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
“The book is both readable and well presented. B&W illustrations are generous and nicely chosen. Documentation (in endnotes) is quite detailed, extensively comprising both scholarly and journalistic-ephemeral sources.”—Victor Castellani European Legacy
"Laurent Dubois mines the history of French soccer for fascinating theories and riveting stories. His understanding of the relationship between the game and politics is subtle, leading readers deep into important discussions about race and national identity. For those of us who admired the poetics of Les Bleus this is essential reading."—Franklin Foer, author of How Soccer Explains the World

"Laurent Dubois is historian, fan and graceful writer all in one. In soccer, he has found an innovative way to explore France and its empire. A serious book and an excellent read."—Simon Kuper, author of Soccernomics

"Beautifully lyrical and authoritative. We meet a host of players, colonized and colonizer, following them from their original playing fields—a vast lawn, a concrete lot—to their triumphs in national and international play." —Alice Kaplan, author of The Interpreter

"This book is a brilliant, beautifully written, and unique history of French colonialism and post-coloniality through the lens of football/soccer. Dubois weaves an eminently readable and engaging narrative that tracks tensions around race and national identity through the biographies of key football players and officials who became iconic of the aspirations of peripheral subjects of the French empire. More than a simple history of French football, the book amounts to a description of France's imperial project and an incisive reflection on the race question in contemporary France. It will please both fans of the 'beautiful game' and those inclined to dismiss sports as but the opium of the masses."—Paul Silverstein, author of Algeria in France: Transpolitics, Race and Nation

Outstanding Academic Title on Sports & Recreation, Choice, a publication of the American Library Association

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Interview with the author, Laurent Dubois
How Algeria Used Soccer Against its Colonizers

Office Hours with Laurent Dubois

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