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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The World Cup starts next week in Brazil. The airwaves are already full of stories about the soccer tournament, and it's the inspiration for this week's Must Read, in which authors recommend books that relate to the news. Today, Dave Zirin tells us about a writer with a passion for soccer and for Latin America.

DAVE ZIRIN, BYLINE: In all of sports literature, one book stands out. "Soccer In Sun And Shadow" is the most lyrical sports book ever written. This should not be surprising. It's by one of the most transcendent authors in any language. Eduardo Galeano writes in rhythmic prose that's almost poetry. He has covered despots, dictators and revolution. Here, he puts his abilities toward the sport he clearly still loves like a smitten teenager.

Galeano is attempting nothing less than an exposition of the entire cultural history of soccer. He describes how the goalie is alone, condemned to watch the game from afar. He awaits his own execution by firing squad. He takes us back to the start of the sport in ancient China and the balls of straw used by the Egyptians.

Galeano has been writing about Latin America for decades. He loves this part of the world, and he finds it maddening. In soccer, this is reflected and extended. Talking about a person who murdered a Colombian player, he writes, (reading) as in all of Latin America, injustice and humiliation poison people's souls.

The most joyous parts of the book are when Galeano forgoes politics and describes the players who have captured his imagination. He writes, (reading) I go about the world, hand outstretched, and in the stadiums, I plead a pretty move for the love of God. And when good soccer happens, I give thanks for the miracle, and I don't give a damn which team or country performs it.

SIEGEL: The book is Eduardo Galeano's " Soccer In Sun And Shadow." It was recommended by Dave Zirin. His latest book is "Brazil's Dance With The Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics, And The Fight For Democracy."

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