Simon Kuper
Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe During the Second World War
March 11, 2019 Comments.. 228
Ajax the Dutch the War Football in Europe During the Second World War In Football Against the Enemy Simon Kuper crossed the globe in search of the links between football politics and culture In Ajax the Dutch the War he skilfully pieces together an alternative accoun

  • Title: Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe During the Second World War
  • Author: Simon Kuper
  • ISBN: 9780752842745
  • Page: 195
  • Format: Paperback
  • In Football Against the Enemy Simon Kuper crossed the globe in search of the links between football, politics and culture In Ajax, the Dutch, the War he skilfully pieces together an alternative account of World War II He looks at the lives of the footballers who played for the Dutch club, the officials and the ordinary fans during this tumultuous period and challenges thIn Football Against the Enemy Simon Kuper crossed the globe in search of the links between football, politics and culture In Ajax, the Dutch, the War he skilfully pieces together an alternative account of World War II He looks at the lives of the footballers who played for the Dutch club, the officials and the ordinary fans during this tumultuous period and challenges the accepted notion of the War in occupied Europe With almost 80 per cent of Amsterdam s Jewish Corner wiped out during the war, the long held belief that, by and large, half the Dutch population had some kind of link to the Resistance has, of late, come into question Kuper explores this issue and looks deeper into the role of football across Europe in the years both preceding and following the War The result is a compelling and controversial account of the War, seen through the lens of football.

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      195 Simon Kuper
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      Published :2019-03-11T05:25:53+00:00

    1 Blog on “Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe During the Second World War

    1. Chris says:

      I should note that I have rooted for Amsterdam’s team as well as the Dutch National team since I saw Ajax win the Champions League Final when I was in Rotterdam. I learned that this book existed and had to have it. I read it with some trepidation because I didn’t want to hate the National Team I grew to love. Kupar’s book is a look at football (the real football, not that thing we Americans have) and how it was affected by World War II. The book covers pre, during, and post World War II ye [...]

    2. Pete daPixie says:

      'Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe During the Second World War' is surely one of the most iconoclastic books on football, along with the illusion of Dutch resistance to the German occupation of WWII.Simon Kuper has written a quite compelling account, that focuses on Amsterdam's Ajax club, but also provides anecdotes of the actions of other football clubs in Holland both during and after the war.Mixed in with all this is the fate of the Jewish population of the Netherlands, particularl [...]

    3. Amanda says:

      The topic was immensely interesting to me and Kuper has more knowledge about the role of soccer in the historical socio-political landscape than pretty much anyone. Each of the segments included thoroughly researched background, and most of the individual stories evoked an emotional response. But the overall structure was too loose. I understand Kuper's decision to provide context via contrast with other countries, but too many points were repeated in separate chapters and the pinballing around [...]

    4. Ian says:

      Interesting idea but a bit repetitive in the end. Needed a good edit. The stuff about the fierce rivalry between the football clubs of liberal Amsterdam and conservative Rotterdam was fascinating, as were the revelations about the seemingly accepted and commonplace racism of Feyenoord fans, and the rather strange adoption of Jewishness as a badge of identity by Ajax fans. Insightful about the rise of the right and the faded image of Dutch liberalism, but weaker when trying to describe what actua [...]

    5. Chris says:

      This is a very difficult book to rate. The title does not really match the subject matter and it really covers a very wide and fascinating terrain. While I didn't learn as much about Ajax as I expected coming in, I learned much more about this history of the Netherlands, Europe, the impact of WW2 and the current political and cultural situation on all involved. I look forward to reading another soccer book by Kuper, even if this book is about much, much more than a soccer team.

    6. Damien Taylor says:

      Excellent book, if you love Ajax you will love this book.

    7. Robert says:

      Fascinating look into the Netherlands during World War II and the giant Amsterdam-based football club, Ajax, as a microcosm of Dutch behavior during the war.The author, Simon Kuper, spent the majority of his childhood in the Netherlands. He grew up during the 1980s when there were still a lot of residual feelings about WW II, epitomized by when the Netherlands defeated West Germany 2-1 in the semifinals of the 1988 European Championships (which the Dutch team went on to win as well). For a long [...]

    8. citybeagle says:

      I agree with some of the other reviewers who found this book to be a bit of a muddle. The overall theme is that the Netherlands has an undeserved international reputation for having been good to its Jews during World War II. In reality, Jews in the Netherlands had a dismal survival rate and some Dutch actively helped round up the Jews for deportation. Denmark and Norway are held up as examples of what the Dutch could or should have done differently. The author feels strongly about this and the b [...]

    9. Stephen says:

      A non-fiction book looking at the Amsterdam football club, Ajax, and how it and the people around the club were affected by the second World War. In fact that's a very reductive description - many other European football clubs and cultures are touched on, and the Kuper also ranges over decades around the war. But at its heart the book is focussed on Ajax, and through that it examines the Dutch - their character, politics and history.The book is packed with detail and is excoriating in an underst [...]

    10. Cameron Norman says:

      My motivation to read this was multi fold. I have been growing in my interest in Dutch football and, in particular, Ajax. My partner is of Dutch descent and we are planning a trip to Holland in the coming year and, as a football and history buff, thought this would be the perfect book to satisfy my many interests in all of those topics. It's difficult to say how well this book actually accomplished that. On one hand, I enjoyed the storytelling. The stories -- and there are many of them, for this [...]

    11. Ashley says:

      While not exactly what I was expecting, by the end, I liked it. I learned some "fun facts" about the history and role of soccer in Europe. However, the most interesting aspect for me was the final chapter which took on the larger topic of "what is Dutch tolerance?" This chapter provoked many thoughts and gave good suggestions for further reading/research. On aspect in particular that I had not thought about before is the role that language plays in the impression people have of the Dutch. Kuper [...]

    12. Andy says:

      Allow me to preface this review by saying this: 1. I love history 2. I love the game of soccer and 3. Ajax is my favorite club team.Okay, that being said (you guessed it), I loved this book. Kuper does a magnificent job tracing modern Dutch history through the game of soccer. He explorers the "Goed" and "Fout" of the Dutch during World War II and how it impacted the game (and clubs) in the country.Outside of the The Netherlands, Kuper talks about Germany (obviously, this book is primarily about [...]

    13. Kyle Justus says:

      The book wasn't what I expected it to be, which turned out to be both good and bad. Firstly, the title of this book is pretty misleading in that the vast majority of this book does not focus on Ajax. There is a lot of jumping around between countries and clubs, especially for the first 3/4 of the book. Additionally, the book focuses very little on what actually happened during the war at Ajax. There is plenty on how the war and football coexisted in England but very little for Ajax. This may be [...]

    14. David says:

      The book starts off with the mildly interesting, but not exactly earthshaking question of why a big Dutch football club would try to distance itself from its Jewish roots even though the club did not have a particularly embarrassing WWII record to hide. After going through about twenty culturally significant layers, the question is revealed to be a big deal, but more to Dutch culture itself, which has a peculiar (to say the least) relationship to both Jews and antisemitism. Absolutely fascinatin [...]

    15. Kimberly says:

      It wasn't entirely about Ajax, it was largely about the Netherlands, and there was a lot about the rest of Europe. You could probably reverse the size of those fonts and have a more accurate picture. And the history student in me felt it lacked depth. Nevertheless, I found it a good overview, particularly of Dutch football and collaboration during the Second World War. There is a lot about the treatment of the Dutch Jewish population (ie. betraying them) but he was justified: Ajax fans calling t [...]

    16. J.J. says:

      While this book took a while to get through (it was way too easy to put down and walk away and then pick back up again), I feel like I learned a lot more about European soccer in general. I didn't expect to be enlightened on a country's mindset during WW2 and their lasting false cultural legacy regarding the Jewish people. This was an excellent read especially in helping identify why racism/anti-semitism is prevalent at soccer matches, something I have never understood and will never fully under [...]

    17. Kusaimamekirai says:

      As the author says early in the book, most countries involved in World War two like to separate themselves as having been "good" or "bad". Holland is no exception in that it historically has viewed itself as having a prominent resistance to Nazi occupation and trying to protect its Jewish population.While Holland may not have been anti-semitic, Kuper makes a very strong case for the Dutch going along with the roundup of its Jews simply because it was the path of least resistance for keeping some [...]

    18. Rosa says:

      Calling this a book about Ajax is a misnomer; it's more about the Netherlands in general during WWII, with soccer as the narrative gateway. Through the lens of sport, the book compares how different countries throughout Europe responded to the war, with special attention on Germany and England along with the Netherlands, and with Norway serving as an example of an alternative response to that of the Dutch. Along with delivering the grim facts, Kuper does a wonderful job describing how the Dutch, [...]

    19. Margaret Haerens says:

      What an interesting gem this book is! It is full of fascinating stories, and enriched by a thoughtful exploration of the role sports (in this case, soccer) play in society. Kuper investigates how soccer in Europe fared during WWII, focusing on the legendary Dutch club, Ajax. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories from players, club members, and survivors--many of them now gone. Because of Kuper's research, their voices have been heard.Kuper ends the book by looking at the rising intolerance in the Net [...]

    20. Hanalei1208 Be says:

      " explores the myths of Holland's "Good War" -- the brave nation that hid Anne Frank from the Nazis -- by using the story of soccer in Holland and the Amsterdam club Ajax to puncture the tales that post-war Holland lives by. Through interviews with Resistance fighters, survivors, wartime soccer players and more, Kuper uncovers a history that has been largely ignored. Ranging far beyond the Netherlands and examining the stories of soccer and war in England, German and France, Kuper writes an alt [...]

    21. Steven Pilling says:

      This is not just a book for football fans. Kuper is if you havent read his work before is a writer who is so much better than the majority of sports writers, he has passion allied to a forensic skill in writing that draws you in. The story of ajax is interesting, Kuper marshalls his facts edits well and ensures that his book keeps its momentum by making you buy into the history and the social relevance of the Ajax story.I prefer Football against the Enemy but if you prefer this yes i can see tha [...]

    22. Ian Hamilton says:

      A somewhat misleading title, Kuper's book extends beyond the Netherlands, Dutch Jews, and the Ajax club, painting a larger picture of football amidst WWII. This makes for some interesting stories, many of which could conceivably stand on their own. The book's biggest flaw is that it's all over the map…featuring chapters of the game's presence outside the Netherlands - England, Germany, France, Austria, etc.; nonetheless, it's an insightful read for anyone interested in European history and the [...]

    23. Kirsten says:

      This might be better considered as a book about the changing attitudes of the Dutch toward their behavior during World War II, as told through the lens of soccer, rather than a book about one Dutch club during the war. It goes beyond just Ajax and it even goes beyond the war. It is, perhaps, a bit repetitive, and Kuper's ego and casual sexism are definitely present (though fortunately not as pronounced as in his other books) but it's absolutely worth a read.

    24. Peter O'brien says:

      I enjoyed this book in a sense. I love football, and let's face it the Holocaust is the most enduring and fascinating story of the 20th century. So reading individual stories about people connected with football, and their experiences was never going to be anything, but jarringly spell-binding.Yet, I had no real illusions about Holland being goet, so the very personal thing for the author of wanting to see it in a different light to how he was brought up, didn't really resonate with me.

    25. Stephanie says:

      This had been on the shelf for a long time before I read it. I found out that the German in charge of Denmark appealed to Hitler not to deport the Danish Jews and that the Danes got most of them away to Sweden, incredible. Germany played more international football games during the war than before with players being given passes to leave the front to play in matches. Football really is more serious than life or death.

    26. Sean Branson says:

      As somebody obsessed with soccer and WWII, I thought this book would be interesting to me. Unfortunately, I found it hard to read and boring. Essentially, Simon Kuper provides a disjointed look into the ways the Dutch have glossed over their mistreatment of the Jews in WWII and how they come to understand their role in the Holocaust in the years since.

    27. Drew England says:

      Very interesting book on soccer during WWII. The cover and title is a little deceiving to the content. I really enjoyed the historical references but the authors interjections were a bit much. While I learned a lot about soccer during the time I also learned things about the war that I did not know. Would recommend.

    28. Jim says:

      Great, great book about three of my favorite subjects. Highly recommended to those interested in historical perspectives on European football, the Jewish history of the Netherlands, and history in general.

    29. Jordan says:

      Very easy to read, and covers interesting content. Its a little loose, and meandering, and seems to repeat itself a lot, but its definitely a pleasant read, and an interesting angle from which to look at the Dutch involvement in the holocaust

    30. Peter Angeli says:

      Excellent history of Ajax, and the Dutch response to the Nazi invasion. Kuper also dispels the myth that the Dutch conduct towards their Jewish citizens was exemplary during this period. This book will appeal to football and history fans.

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