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The Game of Their Lives Hardcover – 1 Sep 1996

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co; First Edition First Printing edition (Sept. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805038752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805038750
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,928,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

In the late spring of 1950, eleven young immigrants' sons, most of them strangers to each other, came together for the love and fun of a game. They came from Missouri, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York, from jobs in canneries, brickyards, post offices, classrooms, and bars, to play for their country in the 1950 World Cup, resulting in what has since been called, by scores of sources for more than forty years, the greatest upset victory in the history of American sports. But no one in America at the time paid attention. Their only public honor - roughly twenty minutes' worth - was from a throng of strangers in a Brazilian mining town. This is the story of the lives of these men: their jobs, wives, sweethearts, neighborhoods, the innocence of their era, the anonymity in which they worked and played. It is the story of heroism, stoicism, and simple unsung grace. Of a time before television, endorsement contracts, movie rights for serial killers, and seven-figure idols who denigrate us all. And ultimately - though it is not a sports story - it is the story of a game, played brilliantly. A single game of soccer, the greater game of life. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Geoffrey Douglas is a former newspaper publisher, editor, columnist, and reporter whose work as appeared in many magazines. His first book was the critically acclaimed "Class: The Wreckage of an American Family. "Douglas lives and works in New Hampshire. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With the World Cup in Brazil rapidly approaching, it seems appropriate to look back at one of the most notorious stories from the previous time Brazil hosted the World’s party in 1950. The biggest upset for many a tournament occurred in Belo Horizonte when England, playing in their first ever World Cup having not deigned to enter previously, were beaten by a bunch of rag tag part-timers from the United States.<!--more-->

This was an England side containing the cream of the home of football’s wealth of talent at the time, in what was fully expected to be nothing other than an absolute rout. Of course it didn’t turn out that way, and this book explores the characters behind that American success, getting to know the surviving players and telling their life stories hand in hand with the story of that incredible match.

The strength of the book lies most in the telling of those life stories and the background of growing up in the immigrant communities of St Louis in the case of several of the players. The description of the match itself is rather flowery but dramatic because of it. By intertwining the match with the reminiscences we are shown more and more of the players’ stories as they progress through the match. The stories are as interesting as you might expect from such a group; tough times and fun times alike, but the lasting impression is one of hard, tough and proud men.

The only shame is that many of the team had died long before this book was written, meaning their stories are only briefly delved into rather than explored in depth. That’s no criticism since there’s not much the author could have done about that of course, but it’s a shame nevertheless. But those who are interviewed have all talked in depth and they illuminate this book.
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Format: Hardcover
It is very evident that the author is not familiar with the game of Soccer. He has written a book that simply accounts lives (that are nothing short of boring) with a Soccer game thrown in on the side. This is ok for the Oprah show but not as a book recounting a great sporting upset. It would been have far more interesting if the book explained in detail the then current global state of the game , and some history of the U.S national team up until that time. How did they get entry to the World Cup? were there qualifying games? Give more analysis to the actual game. Were there any more goal chances for the U.S. did the English control the game for long periods? The book also does not give enough attention to the actual 1950 finals themselves. In short a disappointing book
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Format: Hardcover
In the 1950 World Cup, the United States fielded a team of scrappy immigrants' sons which the world refused to take seriously. Three games later, respect had been gained. The U.S. had defeated England, the land where soccer was born, in the most shocking upset in World Cup history, 1 goal to none.

Far beyond a story of a sporting journey to Brazil in 1950, The Game of Their Lives offers a glimpse into the lives of eleven elegantly simple Americans. Centering on 50's St. Louis, then the soccer capital of the U.S., these men recount life growing up as a first-generation American. This inspiring tale is a humbling read in the face of the millions pro athletes make today. There was a time when the sheer thrill of victory and the honor of playing for your country was pay enough.

Douglas recaptures an inspiration created 47 years ago and immortalizes it for all in the pages of this book. A must-read for any U.S. soccer fan.
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