“Touchdown in Europe: How American Football Came to the Old Continent” by Massimo Foglio and Mark L. Ford
Football (American), history, Europe
July 8, 2015
4 of 5 stars (very good)
Most football fans in the United States do not realize that the game has had a long and colorful history in Europe. For those who thought that when the NFL Europe league existed that it was most of the history of the game on that continent, this book by Massimo Foglio will set those readers straight.
The game has actually been played in Europe for almost as long as it has been in the United States. It was brought to the continent by American military members who were stationed in Europe and played it for recreation during some down time. These games soon became more than just for fun – they exposed the sport to a new audience who was curious to learn more.
As the years passed and World War I and II service members showed their European hosts what type of game was played, there were several leagues organized (and folded) in several countries as well as barnstorming tours done by American college teams organized by entrepreneurs who were looking to make a profit. The stories of these attempts are rich with humor, detail and insight. Many of the games played are recapped in the book with details in a manner that one would believe he or she is reading a recap from a recent game, sometimes complete with statistics.
That is the best aspect of this book, as the research shows that by uncovering some of these stories, Foglio has presented a look at the game that few in the United States know. He concentrates on five European nations where the game is the most popular: Austria, Finland, Germany, Italy, and Norway. Sometimes the stories are so detailed a reader might have a hard time following all the players and people involved, but Foglio makes sure his readers are following along by providing some reminders of stories in earlier chapters that may tie into the next one. That made the book easier to read later on, as I had a hard time keeping up with all those details early in the book.
Gridiron fans who wish to learn more about the history of the game beyond the NFL should pick up this book as it will certainly teach them a segment of the game they may not know. These games and leagues are explained in rich detail but in a fun and entertaining manner that make the book one to add to a reader’s football library.
I wish to thank Mr. Foglio for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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