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Trautmann's Journey: From Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend [Kindle Edition]

Catrine Clay
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description


Bert Trautmann is a football legend. He is famed as the Manchester City goalkeeper who broke his neck in the 1956 FA Cup final and played on. But his early life was no less extraordinary. He grew up in Nazi Germany, where first he was indoctrinated by the Hitler Youth, before fighting in World War Two in France and on the Eastern Front.

In 1945 he was captured and sent to a British POW camp where, for the first time, he understood that there could be a better way of life. He embraced England as his new home and before long became an English football hero.

'Brilliant' Observer

'A remarkable story, well worth reading' The Times

'A gripping story of an unlikely redemption through football' Sunday Times

'This poignant book is a tribute to the depth of both Clay's research and her compassion' Independent

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Product Description


'a truly remarkable story, uncovered with immense skill by Catrine Clay' --Daily Telegraph

'sober, detailed, well-told account' --Guardian

'The remarkable life - as paratrooper and fascist - of Man City's famous German goalie' --The Sunday Times

Book Description

An astounding story of war and football - the first biography of Manchester City goalkeeper and former Hitler Youth star Bert Trautmann

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By jenny
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is well written though compared with the other Trautmann biography it's a bit dry and clinical. The main bulk of the book is focused on his early life in Germany and his experiences as a soldier, which is an excellent account. There are interesting details in this account compared to the other, and new information released such as the fact that he witnessed a mass execution of Jews but had never spoken about it until recently. Alongside Trautmann's experiences are contexts of what was occuring historically at the time, which I think will really help people who don't know much about pre war Germany, WW2 and post war Britain, however, after a while I found it rather tedious and would skip a paragraph so I could get back to Bert's story. I was also severely disappointed in how his amazing football career was squeezed into two meagre chapters. I also find myself doubting Catrine Clay as a historian/biographer as she makes glaringly obviously mistakes about simple things such as Bert's age/birth date yet she has information on this for us all to see in the photo section which shows us Bert's detailed POW records. This makes me think what other mistakes has she made? But I found the information about his family life charming and was introduced to a new character, his cousin Helga who lived with the family as a sort of adopted daughter, which I had never read about before.

It is a decent read overall, but compared to Trautmann: The Biography, I found it too much like a text book. From this account I was left a little cold and disappointed. Trautmann: The Biography is a much more detailed and heart felt account of his life and I would seriously recommend it to all Trautmann fans or fans of football in general. If you are unsure which book to purchase, it is quite simple: if you want a detailed account of Bert's young life and war years, buy this book. If you want an account of his footballing career, buy Trautmann: the biography by Alan Rowlands.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at an intriguing life 12 April 2010
Catrine Clay has done an excellent job of detailing Bert Trautmann's life, compiled from interviews with a still-sharp Trautmann and a lifetime of documentation. Despite his prominent fame as a legendary Manchester City goalkeeper, here Clay mostly concentrates on the fascinating details of Trautmann's pre-football life - especially intriguing since before being an English goalkeeper he was a devoted Hitler Youth member, a medal-earning soldier for the Luftwaffe and witness to some of the most horrific fighting in WWII, including D-Day and on the Eastern Front. These events are detailed with grim realism and deft if brisk storytelling ability. The movement from soldier to British POW, to small-time footballer and to celebrated goalkeeper is told with endearing charm, and whilst both sides of Trautmann's personality are covered (he could be violent both on and off the pitch) this serves only to make a more interesting and informative character. Following Trautmann's falling in love with England and Lancashire in particular is engrossing (he changes his name from Bernhard to Bert), and Clay tells the story with the right balance of sentimentality and cerebral thought.
Whilst some may be disapointed by the relative lack of in-depth football analysis, this biography serves as a great discussion of an important man and an important time. A real treat to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Author Follows Her Own agenda 2 Mar. 2013
By Wingate
I remember Trautmann well.He featured in one of the first FA Cup finals i saw on tv.Also i saw him play when City lost 5-4 in a thrilling match at Highbury in 1961.A memory that has stayed with me over 50 years.I was therefore interested to read more about Trautmann.unfortunately i was to be disappointed by this book.For some reason the author wanted to follow her own there are pages where Trautmann is simply nowhere to be seen.we are told about Hitler youth marching songs,Nazi campaigns in europe.Hitler' war directives and his last testament.The assasination plot against Hitler,the war crimes trials aginst the Nazis.It is not till page 220 that there is any mention about Trautmann's football career and the part of his life for which he is famous is crammed into the last 80 pages.There is an epilogue of 16 pages which covers the last 50years of his life.I had to go to Wikipedia to learn more about his football career and how he ended his playing days.
It is clear that the author has relied almost solely on the taped interviews with Trautmann.the fact that she has not bothered to interview anybody else means we have no true appreciation of Trautmann's character,It is clear that he has a violent temper and is not an easy man to live with.However we dont really get to understand why this is.It would appear that Trautmann was sent off on a number of occasions and ended his football career after one such sending off.In those days it was very unusual to see a keeper sent off and i cannot recall this happening on a regular basis till thge latter part of last century.So in all a rather disappointing book.Glad i took this out of the library and did not buy it !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts 13 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book following Bert Trautmann's death in July 2013. I was aware that he was a German paratrooper who became Manchester City's goalkeeper (of broken neck fame) and that he was revered by those that saw him. His life seemed fascinating - I wanted to know more.

The early chapters were very interesting about Bert's upbringing through the Hitler Youth and really impressed upon me the level of indoctrination the Nazis sought to impart on young Germans. Bert was clearly a gifted athlete, a golden boy who fitted the Nazi ideal perfectly - tall, blonde, strong, and brave.

His war record was remarkable - he kept fighting throughout World War 2 in some of the most intense theatres of the conflict, even spending time in a truly disgusting Soviet jail and narrowly missing death on numerous occasions. However, large tracts of this sction of the book seem to be padded out with information about Hitler's strategy and the wider historical picture. This may be of interest to some, but Trautmann's own life and experience was the reason I'd bought the book, not a World War 2 history lesson.

Being a native of England's North West I was particularly fascinated by the chapters dealing with his imprisonment in Newton-Le-Willows and his eventual denazification. Many of these anecdoctes were heartwarming and shone a light on a little explored aspect of the immediate post war. The simple humanity of many of the Brits Trautmann came into contact with (and their contrast with German attitudes) was a particular delight.

The book then covers his football career, culminating in the famous 1956 Cup Final. His long life after this is skated over very rapidly, despite being of interest to this reader. So although I found the book useful and finshed reading it very quickly, I did feel it could have contained more for football anoraks like me (who are a likely audience) including his work with the German FA.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A GAP FILLER
A bit of a grubby copy but OK for the price as its just to take on HOLIDAY and then leave . This is not a COMPLAINT just a fact . Read more
Published 19 hours ago by anne chamberlain
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read
Published 3 months ago by Karl Lillis
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read. I knew 'Bert
A really good read. I knew 'Bert.'very well and he was such a caring and unassuming person, it's difficult to understand how he came through the war. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Henry Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
husband loved it
Published 5 months ago by VictoriaMeldrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great read.
Published 6 months ago by William Anthony's Crompton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 months ago by john pring
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read about thoroughly decent guy!
Published 6 months ago by ecossedoug
5.0 out of 5 stars Not only a must for football fans
Very good value for money compared to high street outlet.
Book well presented and a good mix between football and life story
Published 7 months ago by Norma
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Ok book
Published 8 months ago by susanpatterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, horrifying and heartwarming.
A gripping biography, illustrating how fear and indoctrination can turn good people into followers of the doctrine of the evil that was Hitler's Reich, and how the same people can... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Neal Reynolds
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