August 20, 2009

The Beckham Experiment

Before I had a chance to read The Beckham Experiment by Sports Illustrated soccer writer Grant Wahl, I surmised that it could end up being the most important piece of American soccer journalism (while certainly there are a number of incredible pieces of soccer literature, never has the story taken place nearly exclusively in the good ol' U.S.A).

Turns out I was right. And what a piece of get-your-hands-dirty journalism it is.

Wahl shows off his super-saavy information-gathering skills and takes the reader deeper into the L.A. drama than I ever could've imagined. The details. The nuance. The conversations. He brought color to names we've always known and the ones we haven't. He made everyone, down to the kids making $12.9K a year, a three-dimensional character.

It is truly a triumph in reporting, an amazing feat considering the airtight access to David Beckham's inner circle. I can't imagine the amount of reporter's notebooks and hours of tape recording went into this one.

A very easy and very entertaining read, I definitely recommend the work to anyone that would come across my blog. The book is bursting at the seams with fresh information that only one man could provide: Wahl.

While there were some things I didn't fully agree with -- the expectation for The Beckham Experiment to be mainly about soccer -- and some of the depictions seemed at times a bit glowing (Landon/Lalas) or jaded (No. 23), this book deserves a place on your shelf.

For all you readers out there that debated the purchase a while back when it came out, consider this that extra nudge off the fence. It is 100-percent worth your time, money and attention.
Random House