99 books like The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

By James M. Dorsey,

Here are 99 books that The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer fans have personally recommended if you like The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Cairo: City of Sand

Ronnie Close Author Of Cairo's Ultras: Resistance and Revolution in Egypt’s Football Culture

From my list on Egyptian politics and the 2011 Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and filmmaker based in Cairo for over a decade. I was inspired to move to Egypt when I visited during the 2011 Revolution and fell in love with the vibrance of the city. Since then Cairo has changed and I have lived through an extraordinary history with some difficult times but always with a sense of curiosity for stories. My book, Cairo’s Ultras, began as a documentary film project in 2012 and I have found many other interesting topics during my time in this enigmatic and fascinating place. I will publish a second book next year, called Decolonising Images, that looks at the photographic heritage and visual culture of Egypt.

Ronnie's book list on Egyptian politics and the 2011 Revolution

Ronnie Close Why did Ronnie love this book?

The book gives the reader a deep layered understanding of Egypt before the 2011 uprising to look at the state of the nation and into the heart of Cairo, an ancient city but now a metropolis of over 20 million. Written with a novelist's flare this is an intimate portrait of the lives of Cairenes that explores hidden aspects of this mysterious city. The author builds an intriguing story on the religious beliefs, family values, negotiating tactics, driving habits, and attitudes towards foreigners. This is a reflection on a wonderous city, a place of sadness and of hope, which uses the metaphor of Saharan desert sand blowing in to shape the sand castle politics of the Mubarak era that would come crashing down in the 2011 Revolution.

By Maria Golia,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cairo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cairo is a 1,400-year-old metropolis whose streets are inscribed with sagas, a place where the pressures of life test people's equanimity to the very limit. Virtually surrounded by desert, sixteen million Cairenes cling to the Nile and each other, proximities that colour and shape lives. Packed with incident and anecdote "Cairo: City of Sand" describes the city's given circumstances and people's attitudes of response. Apart from a brisk historical overview, this book focuses on the present moment of one of the world's most illustrious and irreducible cities. Cairo steps inside the interactions between Cairenes, examining the roles of family, tradition…


Book cover of The City Always Wins

Ronnie Close Author Of Cairo's Ultras: Resistance and Revolution in Egypt’s Football Culture

From my list on Egyptian politics and the 2011 Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and filmmaker based in Cairo for over a decade. I was inspired to move to Egypt when I visited during the 2011 Revolution and fell in love with the vibrance of the city. Since then Cairo has changed and I have lived through an extraordinary history with some difficult times but always with a sense of curiosity for stories. My book, Cairo’s Ultras, began as a documentary film project in 2012 and I have found many other interesting topics during my time in this enigmatic and fascinating place. I will publish a second book next year, called Decolonising Images, that looks at the photographic heritage and visual culture of Egypt.

Ronnie's book list on Egyptian politics and the 2011 Revolution

Ronnie Close Why did Ronnie love this book?

This book is a novel written by an Egyptian activist, Omar Hamilton, who lived through the 2011 period. The fiction approach gives the author greater freedom to explore the inner lives of the Tahrir Square activists who he knew well and the momentous events in Cairo. The non-factual approach of a novel offers something missing even in the best journalism because the author brings to life the motivations and personalities involved in the leftist movements which overthrew the Mubarak regime. His first-hand experience of the time fuels the narrative as these revolutionaries faced the failure of the uprising in the long term. The book explores these harsh realities of politics through well-developed characters and expressionistic writing that brings to life this time in Egypt.

By Omar Robert Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The City Always Wins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Omar Robert Hamilton brings vividly to life the failed revolution of 2011 on the streets of Cairo, in all its youthful bravery and naive utopianism.' - JM Coetzee

'The City Always Wins is a stirring, clear, humane and immensely savvy novel about political innocence and fearlessness. Its fictive portrayals of the Egyptian 'revolution' of 2011 are nothing less than ground-breaking.' - Richard Ford

'I finished this novel with fascination and admiration. It gives a picture of the inside of a popular movement that we all saw from the outside, in countless news broadcasts and foreign-correspondent reports, a picture so vivid…


Book cover of The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative Insurgency in the Arab World

Ronnie Close Author Of Cairo's Ultras: Resistance and Revolution in Egypt’s Football Culture

From my list on Egyptian politics and the 2011 Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and filmmaker based in Cairo for over a decade. I was inspired to move to Egypt when I visited during the 2011 Revolution and fell in love with the vibrance of the city. Since then Cairo has changed and I have lived through an extraordinary history with some difficult times but always with a sense of curiosity for stories. My book, Cairo’s Ultras, began as a documentary film project in 2012 and I have found many other interesting topics during my time in this enigmatic and fascinating place. I will publish a second book next year, called Decolonising Images, that looks at the photographic heritage and visual culture of Egypt.

Ronnie's book list on Egyptian politics and the 2011 Revolution

Ronnie Close Why did Ronnie love this book?

Marwan Kraidy’s book is a deep dive into the cultural politics of the Arab Uprisings during 2011. Wonderfully written and cleverly organized this academic book looks at the ‘digital’ nature of these resistance movements and the use of art and media tools in the protests. The focus is on young Arabs who used the street to challenge authority and cutting-edge social media platforms to argue for social change. In the book political activism and a period of digital euphoria meet when places like Tahrir Square became the centre of the world. This is one of the most essential accounts of 2011 that offers a refreshing take on Facebook and Twitter as revolutionary agents that helped to bring down the military regime. 

By Marwan M. Kraidy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Naked Blogger of Cairo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Uprisings spread like wildfire across the Arab world from 2010 to 2012, fueled by a desire for popular sovereignty. In Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria, protesters flooded the streets and the media, voicing dissent through slogans, graffiti, puppetry, videos, and satire that called for the overthrow of dictatorial regimes. Investigating what drives people to risk everything to express themselves in rebellious art, The Naked Blogger of Cairo uncovers the creative insurgency at the heart of the Arab uprisings. While commentators have stressed the role of texting and Twitter, Marwan M. Kraidy shows that the essential medium of expression was the human…


Book cover of The Egyptians: A Radical History of Egypt's Unfinished Revolution

Ronnie Close Author Of Cairo's Ultras: Resistance and Revolution in Egypt’s Football Culture

From my list on Egyptian politics and the 2011 Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and filmmaker based in Cairo for over a decade. I was inspired to move to Egypt when I visited during the 2011 Revolution and fell in love with the vibrance of the city. Since then Cairo has changed and I have lived through an extraordinary history with some difficult times but always with a sense of curiosity for stories. My book, Cairo’s Ultras, began as a documentary film project in 2012 and I have found many other interesting topics during my time in this enigmatic and fascinating place. I will publish a second book next year, called Decolonising Images, that looks at the photographic heritage and visual culture of Egypt.

Ronnie's book list on Egyptian politics and the 2011 Revolution

Ronnie Close Why did Ronnie love this book?

As someone who moved to Egypt in 2012 I only experienced the 2011 Revolution in the past tense, in a secondhand way but this book puts this story in a clear, factual way. This is a meticulous work of journalism and passionate study of the time from someone who lived through the street protests and the book has combined on-the-ground reporting with wider investigation of the causes and the revolution’s achievements. The heart of the book is with the struggle of the Egyptian people during 2011 and the author knows Cairo as a city to bring alive this historic narrative for political freedom. 

By Jack Shenker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Egyptians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Egyptians, journalist Jack Shenker uncovers the roots of the uprising that succeeded in toppling Hosni Mubarak, one of the Middle East's most entrenched dictators, and explores a country now divided between two irreconcilable political orders. Challenging conventional analyses that depict contemporary Egypt as a battle between Islamists and secular forces, The Egyptians illuminates other, equally important fault lines: far-flung communities waging war against transnational corporations, men and women fighting to subvert long-established gender norms, and workers dramatically seizing control of their own factories.

Putting the Egyptian revolution in its proper context as an ongoing popular struggle against state…


Book cover of The Story of the World Cup: 2018

Gavin H. MacPhee Author Of Connecting the Continent: The Birth of the European Cup and Football's Golden Age

From my list on understanding the amazing global history of men's soccer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Scottish writer who has been obsessed with soccer from an early age. I devour books, new or old, on any topic related to the game and have an extensive collection of books, old and new, that keeps outgrowing my bookshelves. I love learning more about the history of the game and especially new soccer cultures.

Gavin's book list on understanding the amazing global history of men's soccer

Gavin H. MacPhee Why did Gavin love this book?

I spent many years of my youth flicking through history books on the World Cup and learning about legends like Beckenbauer and Cruyff, Pele, and Maradona, and have always been obsessed with the greatest event in sport. This book tells the definitive story of every event from Uruguay in 1930 up to Russia in 2018. 

Glanville’s style brings out the unique nature of every tournament and the teams, players, and coaches within them, making it much more than a series of brief match reports, which can be a challenge in chronological histories.

By Brian Glanville,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Story of the World Cup as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brian Glanville's dramatic history of the world's most famous football tournament has become the most authoritative guide to the World Cup. His classic, bestselling account is a vivid celebration of the great players and legendary matches in the competition from Uruguay in 1930 to Brazil in 2014 - as well as a bold attack on those who have mismanaged the 'beautiful game'. Fully revised and updated in anticipation of Russia's hosting of the event in 2018, this is the definitive book on the World Cup for football fans and novices alike.


Book cover of Bea Is for Blended

Laurie Morrison Author Of Coming Up Short

From my list on for athletes and non-athletes alike.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved watching and playing sports, and now I love writing about them, too. As a former teacher, I’ve seen firsthand how sporty books appeal to sporty kids. But after publishing my novel Up for Air, which is about a star swimmer, I’ve been struck by how many readers tell me they connected deeply with the main character even though they don’t like sports at all. That made me think about what makes sports stories resonate, and now I look out for books that capitalize on all the most exciting and relatable things about sports while also offering compelling hooks to readers with all sorts of interests.

Laurie's book list on for athletes and non-athletes alike

Laurie Morrison Why did Laurie love this book?

This heartwarming novel is full of soccer, touching family dynamics, and girl power. It stars a feisty sixth-grader named Bea who has to adjust to a new house, a new school, a new blended family, and a new neighbor who’s gunning for her position on the soccer field. At first, Bea is determined to look out for herself and protect her turf, but then she and her neighbor team up to fight against sexism and form the first-ever all-girls squad. The team dynamics in this book will make any reader cheer. Soccer fans will love the on-field action, but this gem of a novel also has humor, emotional depth, delightful and inspiring characters, and even references to the beloved Katherine Paterson novel Bridge to Terabithia!

By Lindsey Stoddard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bea Is for Blended as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Girl power scores a goal in this uplifting story of teamwork, new beginnings, and coming together to fight for what’s right—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff and Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

Bea and her mom have always been a two-person team. But now her mom is marrying Wendell, and their team is growing by three boys, two dogs, and a cat.

Finding her place in her new blended family may be tough, but when Bea finds out her school might not get the all-girls soccer team they’d been promised, she learns that the bigger the team, the stronger the fight—and that…


Book cover of Circus Maximus: The Economical Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup

Jacqueline Kennelly Author Of Olympic Exclusions: Youth, Poverty and Social Legacies

From my list on the Olympics that the IOC doesn’t want you to know.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wasn’t really interested in the Olympics until they came knocking at my door. I lived in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics Bid. When a plebiscite was called, the Yes side plastered the city with billboards explaining why everyone should want the Olympics. Simultaneously, a much less resourced but vocal opposition argued that hosting would be an environmental, social, and economic disaster. The two sides were so far apart that my curiosity was piqued. When I began a postdoctoral fellowship in the UK, I realized that they, too, were in the midst of similar debates, as hosts of the 2012 Summer Olympics. From here a research project was born.

Jacqueline's book list on the Olympics that the IOC doesn’t want you to know

Jacqueline Kennelly Why did Jacqueline love this book?

Olympics organizers love to produce economic impact assessments claiming that hosting this mega-event will boost the local economy by astronomical amounts.

Andrew Zimbalist is an economist who painstakingly illustrates why this is never the case. Circus Maximus is written for a lay audience, rather than an academic one, and is easily read even by us non-economists.

He clearly and methodically demonstrates how and why the Olympics and World Cup have never made money for their host cities, and likely never will. 

By Andrew Zimbalist,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Circus Maximus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The numbers are staggering: China spent $40 billion to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing and Russia spent $50 billion for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Brazil's total expenditures are thought to have been as much as $20 billion for the World Cup this summer and Qatar, which will be the site of the 2022 World Cup, is estimating that it will spend $200 billion. How did we get here? And is it worth it? Those are among the questions noted sports economist Andrew Zimbalist answers in Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the…


Book cover of Tigers and Devils

Pat Henshaw Author Of What's in a Name?

From my list on gay relationships that shouldn’t work.

Why am I passionate about this?

For some reason, many gay men like to talk to me about what they find important. For my part, I love to listen. The subject often turns to couples they know and how they got together. The most interesting conversations center around how two unlikely men meet, fall in love, and marry. Because my first husband was a closeted gay man, I am interested in how gay men view love and how they decide whether to get married. I myself am neither gay nor male. I pass along what I’ve heard and learned in order to open readers’ hearts and minds. Peace.

Pat's book list on gay relationships that shouldn’t work

Pat Henshaw Why did Pat love this book?

When my husband and I got together, everyone said it wouldn’t work.

He graduated from the University of Texas while I was from University of Nebraska. At the time the schools were rabid football rivals. Both of us were avid fans. And the year we got married, the two schools played each other for the championship.

Is it any wonder I wrote about a metro-male and a good-old-boy? Not only do I write about mismatched couples, I read about them too.

In Tigers and Devils, a top Australian football player and the head of an independent film festival are attracted to each other. You don’t have to know anything about Australian football to enjoy this book.

Kennedy’s sense of humor and the main character’s married couple friends will make you believe even if you don’t have my background and haven’t had decades with your spouse.

By Sean Kennedy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tigers and Devils as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most important things in Simon Murray's life are football, friends, and film-in that order. His friends despair of him ever meeting someone, but despite his loneliness, Simon is cautious about looking for more. Then his best friends drag him to a party, where he barges into a football conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler-unaware that the athlete is present. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other's lives forever.Like his entire family, Simon revels in living in Melbourne, the home of Australian Rules football and mecca…


Book cover of Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer

Gavin H. MacPhee Author Of Connecting the Continent: The Birth of the European Cup and Football's Golden Age

From my list on understanding the amazing global history of men's soccer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Scottish writer who has been obsessed with soccer from an early age. I devour books, new or old, on any topic related to the game and have an extensive collection of books, old and new, that keeps outgrowing my bookshelves. I love learning more about the history of the game and especially new soccer cultures.

Gavin's book list on understanding the amazing global history of men's soccer

Gavin H. MacPhee Why did Gavin love this book?

It’s tricky to recommend one book that just covers one footballing culture, but when a book is this good, it’s hard to leave out. The justification is that the Dutch have had an enormous influence on modern soccer, and it is their ideas of soccer and manipulation of space that are present in all of today’s top teams.

I bought this book as a 17-year-old, and it was a defining moment in my youth. I read it every five years or so. It is so thought-provoking and illuminating.  I learned about art, politics, land reclamation, and, of course, the master Johan Cruyff.

By David Winner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brilliant Orange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If any one thing, Brilliant Orange is about Dutch space and a people whose unique conception of it has led to the most enduring arts, the weirdest architecture, and a bizarrely cerebral form of soccer―Total Football―that led in 1974 to a World Cup finals match with arch-rival Germany, and more recently to a devastating loss against Spain in 2010. With its intricacy and oddity, it continues to mystify and delight observers around the world. As David Winner wryly observes, it is an expression of the Dutch psyche that has a shared ancestry with Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie, Rembrandt's The Night…


Book cover of The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer

Gavin H. MacPhee Author Of Connecting the Continent: The Birth of the European Cup and Football's Golden Age

From my list on understanding the amazing global history of men's soccer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Scottish writer who has been obsessed with soccer from an early age. I devour books, new or old, on any topic related to the game and have an extensive collection of books, old and new, that keeps outgrowing my bookshelves. I love learning more about the history of the game and especially new soccer cultures.

Gavin's book list on understanding the amazing global history of men's soccer

Gavin H. MacPhee Why did Gavin love this book?

At 1,012 pages, this is certainly not for the faint-hearted, but it remains the most amazing football book I’ve ever read. It is unrivaled in its scope, with chapters focusing on every continent, even those for which soccer may not have fully won the public over (like the USA). 

Much more than a chronicle of who scored where and when, it is also a book about politics and society and the wider forces that shape football. The Ball is Round can be dipped into with the chapters you find more interesting, but I find it more rewarding to tackle from start to finish. It will take some time, but the joy is in the journey, not the destination.

A footballing reading rite of passage, our version of The Power Broker.

By David Goldblatt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ball is Round as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this extraordinary tour de force of a book, David Goldblatt describes the rise of football, from a chaotic folk ritual to a sector of the global-entertainment industry. It's the story of players and managers, fans and owners, clubs and national teams; a chronicle of who won and who lost. But it's also a history of states and markets, money and power. And, above all, how all these forces interact. It is a history which attempts to locate where the line between the realm of glory and the realm of power has been crossed, that celebrates the love of the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in soccer, the Middle East, and Egypt?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about soccer, the Middle East, and Egypt.

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