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In the bastion of American sport jingoism where I grew up, soccer was seen as a laughable oddity, the sport of spaghetti-armed Europeans and mono-monikered Brazilians. What good was a sport that forbade you to use half of your limbs? In recent years, Americans have joined the rest of the world in its passion for the bicep-phobic version of football, to the extent that even such New Republic wonks as Franklin Foer have joined the fray. Foer’s book How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization has an unwieldy title, but he makes good on its promise, with a raconteur’s relish. From his explanation of why ultranationalistic Red Star Belgrade fans used bats and bars to bludgeon their own players to his discussion of how Iranian soccer has become a focal point for liberal transformation, Foer does a marvelous job of explaining how soccer demonstrates the successes—and failures—of the global economy. Foer speaks at 6 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Michael Little)