Played in Germany

A Footballing Journey Through a Nation's Soul

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Pub Date Jun 06 2024 | Archive Date May 23 2024

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Beyond the booze and the bratwurst: what football really tells us about Germany, the UEFA Euro 2024 hosts

In summer 2024, the eyes of football fans worldwide will turn to Germany as it hosts the European Championship. For many, the country seems familiar territory: a footballing behemoth with clubs as famous as its beer and its cars. But, if you look closer, the beautiful game can offer a deeper understanding of Europe's powerhouse.

Played in Germany takes us on a journey through modern Germany’s football heartlands in search of the issues which define it. Through the stadiums, songs and simmering resentments of football, Kit Holden sheds light on a nation so diverse and divided that the only thing which really unites it is the game itself.

From the author of Sports Book Awards-shortlisted Scheisse! We're Going Up!

Beyond the booze and the bratwurst: what football really tells us about Germany, the UEFA Euro 2024 hosts

In summer 2024, the eyes of football fans worldwide will turn to Germany as it hosts the...

Advance Praise

'Always passionate, sometimes rough and ready, football in Germany has avoided the bling that has so disfigured the sport elsewhere. Kit Holden has travelled across this enchanting, diverse and often misunderstood country to explain in vivid detail the unbreakable bond it has with the Beautiful Game' John Kampfner, bestselling author of Why the Germans Do it Better

'A fascinating perspective not just on German football but on Germany itself, and a snapshot of a country in a state of deep flux. Immaculately researched and entertainingly written, Holden combines an evident affection for his subject with the clear judgement to critique it fairly' Jonathan Liew, Guardian

'An intimate portrait of Germany told through its football' Archie Rhind-Tutt, ESPN

'Absolutely wunderbar! Kit Holden's book is remarkably enlightening about both German football and society. My favourite footy read of the year so far. It's indispensable for anyone who wants to discover more about one of the continent's great football cultures' Adrian Goldberg

'Entertaining, engaging and full of fascinating insight. A captivating tour of a nation besotted with football. The perfect accompaniment to Europe's German summer' Daniel Gray, author of The Silence of the Stands

'This is among the very finest books written about German football. In fact, to call it a sports book is to do it a disservice, such is the breadth of its coverage and the scope of its analysis of the country’s history and culture. A tremendous accomplishment and a terrific read' Sebastian Stafford-Bloor, The Athletic

'A great guide to Germany's football heartlands, Kit Holden wisely places the culture of the game in the contexts of the society around it: local and international, traditional and modern, political and personal. Played in Germany is a cracking read – fascinating and informative' Michael Wagg, author of The Turning Season: DDR-Oberliga Revisited

'To fully enjoy German football, it helps to get an idea of what a varied and fascinating country Germany is. This engaging and insightful book is a perfect illustration of how events on and off the pitch have given each club a special character and identity' Kevin Hatchard, Bundesliga World Feed TV Commentator

'Always passionate, sometimes rough and ready, football in Germany has avoided the bling that has so disfigured the sport elsewhere. Kit Holden has travelled across this enchanting, diverse and often...

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ISBN 9780715655412
PRICE £12.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

This was a really pleasant surprise. A well researched and racily written overview of Germany through the eyes of its football clubs and supporters who are freely quoted throughout.

This is a timely publication given that Germany will be hosting Euro24 and the thousands of visitors to the competition will be thoroughly educated and entertained if they browse through this excellent book beforehand.

Highly recommended.

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'Played in Germany' is a well-researched, witty and interesting social history of football in Germany. It largely sidesteps cliche and covers an awful lot of ground without sacrificing depth. The book is full of insights from football fans (rather than players) and Holden has a way with a telling phrase, such as 'The Ruhr may always have been the engine of German industry. But it was Stuttgart, way down in the south-west, which produced its most famous motor'. He also picks up nicely on that much-misunderstood force, German humour, for instance in quoting an 1860 München fan on their clubs decline: 'that has less to do with idealism, and more to do with incompetence.’ There might have been more on Germany's long dominance of women's football, which only gets a brief mention, and for me this book could have been quite a bit longer, which is probably the greatest praise I can offer.

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I have an interest in football, history and politics so, for me, this was an ideal book!
Using the structure of providing insight into a number of the significant football teams in Germany, and their respective geographical locations, the author's narrative rattles along at a refreshing pace thus avoiding what might have been a repetitive format. Through a history of the Clubs, the different regions of Germany are introduced in an interesting way through their own political and social histories, and, although historical incidents are referenced, discussion of current events gives a freshness to the narrative, and stories from fans of the Clubs provide great personal anecdotes on the impact of football on people's lives.
With the European Championships being held in Germany in June this year this book certainly delivers a great taster for anyone looking forward to the event.
Thank you to netgalley and duckworth books for an advance copy of this book

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Played in Germany has the subtitle ‘A Footballing Journey Through a Nation's Soul’ and it does exactly that. Author Kit Holden expertly takes the reader on a journey through Germany to look at the historical, cultural, and social influences that make fußball what it is in the country.
The publication of the book is timed with the 2024 European Championships, in Germany, and the simple premise is that each chapter looks at one of the venues for the tournament. What Holden produces is a book that is easy to read due to the expert storytelling. It could be read in one sitting such is the skill on show. Holden has chosen his interviewees wisely and this tool brings the reader into the conversation, and it creates a wonderfully nuanced view of each part of Germany.

Although the book’s leitmotif is the European Championships, this book will last far longer than the football tournament. Holden’s journey into modern Germany has many fascinating sections and serves to enlighten the reader as to what makes the nation tick. It also reaffirms for football fans that their own footballing influences have a fascinating backstory and they, will, find out why they love their team and hate their rivals the way they do.

This book is a must for football fans everywhere and I hope that Holden revisits the German football story in more depth in future because as good as this book is, the reader will want to know more.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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One of my reading highlights of last year was Kit Holdens superb book on Union Berlin, so I'm delighted he is back with Player in Germany. I loved this book. It provided real insight into fan culture, as he travels through various regions of the country.

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