One Life, by Megan Rapinoe and Emma Brockes, Penguin Press, RRP$27, 352 pages

The US soccer player Rapinoe talks about much more than soccer. A lesbian raised in a small conservative town in California, her brother a drug addict who served time in prison, Rapinoe is as excited about kneeling for the national anthem and demanding equal pay as about winning the World Cup. Her forceful, funny voice resonates on every page.

Juve! 100 Years of an Italian Football Dynasty, by Herbie Sykes, Yellow Jersey Press, RRP£20, 416 pages

Juventus, the best Italian football club, is all about winning. Its story is in large part the story of modern Italy: the Agnelli dynasty, the Fascist era, the postwar boom, the terrorist “years of lead” in the 1970s and endless whiffs of corruption. British writer Sykes is a witty and well-informed guide.

A People’s History of Tennis, by David Berry, Pluto Press, RRP£14.99/$19.95, 256 pages

All good sports books are about more than sports, and this British-focused social history reclaims tennis from its traditional home among the upper-middle-classes. Berry digs up forgotten stories of ethnic-minority and socialist tennis (including “Workers’ Wimbledon”) and shows that men and women were playing together even in Victorian times. 

Best Books of the Year 2020

All this week, FT writers and critics share their favourites. Some highlights are:

Monday: Business by Andrew Hill
Tuesday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Wednesday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Thursday: History by Tony Barber
Friday: Critics’ choice
Saturday: Crime by Barry Forshaw

That Will Be England Gone: The Last Summer of Cricket, by Michael Henderson, Constable, RRP£20, 304 pages

A paean to an old rural England, with plenty of digressions. It’s as if Roger Scruton had decided to write a book about cricket, and then kept forgetting that it was supposed to be about cricket. Henderson’s politics are the opposite of David Berry’s, but he writes equally well, though in suitably archaic prose.

My Life in Red and White: My Autobiography, by Arsène Wenger, Orion, RRP£25, 352 pages

The former football manager takes us from his childhood in a postwar Alsace, where nobody talked about the war, through his 22 years at Arsenal to his painful separation from the club. The workaholic perfectionist worries that he gave too little to his family. Warning: don’t expect many Arsenal secrets.

Tell us what you think

What are your favourites from this list — and what books have we missed? Tell us in the comments below

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