About the Book

Angels with Dirty Faces

Angels with Dirty Faces

How Argentinian Soccer Defined a Nation and Changed the Game Forever
August 2016
Not Yet Published
Trade Paperback · 448 Pages
$17.99 U.S. · $23.50 CAN
ISBN 9781568585512
Nation Books


Argentina has produced Alfredo Di Stéfano, Diego Maradona, and Lionel Messi — some of the greatest soccer players of all time. The country's rich, volatile history is by turns sublime and ruthlessly pragmatic. A nation obsessed with soccer, Argentina lives and breathes the game, its theories, and its myths. Jonathan Wilson lived in Buenos Aires, in an apartment between La Recoleta Cemetery — where the country's leading poets and politicians are buried — and the Huracán stadium. Like his apartment, Angels with Dirty Faces lies at the intersection of politics, literature, and sport. Here, he chronicles the evolution of Argentinian soccer: the appropriation of the British game, the golden age of la nuestra, the exuberant style of playing that developed as Juan Perón led the country into isolation, a hardening into the brutal methods of anti-fútbol, the fusing of beauty and efficacy under César Luis Menotti, and the emergence of all-time greats in Maradona and Messi against a backdrop of economic turbulence.

About the Author

Jonathan Wilson's INVERTING THE PYRAMID won the National Sporting Club Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. His other books include BEHIND THE CURTAIN: Travels in Eastern European Football; SUNDERLAND: A Club Transformed; THE ANATOMY OF ENGLAND: A History in Ten Matches; NOBODY EVER SAYS THANK YOU, a critically acclaimed biography of Brian Clough; THE OUTSIDER: A History of the Goalkeeper; and THE ANATOMY OF LIVERPOOL. He also writes for The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, and World Soccer, and he is the editor of The Blizzard. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonawils