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A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke Hardcover – 29 Sep 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey; First English language edition edition (29 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224091654
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224091657
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"An intensely moving book that transcends football" (Raphael Honigstein, Guardian)

"Deeply affecting" (Ian Hawkey Sunday Times)

"A tragic book, but a brilliant one. Reng's is one of the best sports books to have been published in years" (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung)

"This is a powerful book which transcends football." (Sport Magazine)

"Deeply affecting" (Matt Dickinson The Times)

Book Description

Winner of the 2011 William Hill Sports Book of the Year. The biography of Robert Enke, the German goalkeeper who took his own life.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Until he passed away, I'll admit I hadn't really heard of the German international goalkeeper Robert Enke. When I heard there was a book being released about his life I still wasn't that interested, simply because I never really knew the guy, as a player or a man.

I am so glad I ignored any previous misgivings or hesitation I had. This is a must-read book, and not just for football fans either.

Don't worry if you didn't know who Enke was, where he came from or who he played for. It's all covered and in detail too. Author Robert Reng was a friend and had in-depth access to Enke and his wife Teresa as well as Robert's personal diaries. So you know the author has his facts right and it shows in the style the book's written in. At times A Life Too Short reads like a work of fiction, it flows seamlessly from chapter to chapter and is never boring or repetitive. Despite dealing with the difficult subject that is depression, not once does Reng's writing become morbid or depressing itself. In fact the book really helped me to understand just how serious the illness is and how horrible it must be for sufferers. Enke certainly had an interesting life and a very interesting career. The chapter that deals with Enke's match during his time at Barcelona, when the Catalan side faced off against the small Spanish minnows Novelda is simply incredible. It is a harrowing piece of writing, you can literally feel Robert coming apart as the match turned in Novelda's favour.

It's not all negative though. As Robert experiences the highs that come with being a professional footballer, you feel like you're right there with him the entire time. Enke's years in Lisbon with Benfica come to mind, when he embraced the Portuguese culture around him until he felt right at home.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A couple of things before i continue

I suffer from depression i have been in hospital because of it and feel that i can add a review of context for this book.
Football is a passion of mine although i have lost some interest due to the money involved.

Having read a lot of books on depression this one spoke out to me the most.The author who was a friend of Robert really does explain the thinking of someone who is depressed,he is helped by the fact that Robert kept a diary of his feelings that he could not express to the world.The book tells the highs and lows of being a proffesional footballer and Robert had plenty of lows but his career was on the up when he took his own life.He had demons of failure he was worried if he told people he was depressed his adopted daughter would be taken away.Robert and his wife had lost their first child due to a heart defect.Through all that he was now the German goalkeeper but that means nothing when you have depression.This book is not sentimenal it just shows that depression can happen to anyone.I would reccomend this book most highly
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I remember vividly being unable to sleep during the early morning of November 10th 2009, going downstairs and hearing about Robert Enke's death on Sky Sports News. Having suffered fom some of the symptoms that he felt (but without the public spotlight) I decided to buy the book in the wake of Gary Speed's death last week. This is a fantastic read. Highly emotive, well presented and several notches above most sports books. Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An honest, sympathetic and balanced portrayal of mental illness that benefitted greatly from the cooperation of Robert Enke's family.

Because its a book where the reader knows there is no happy ending, it was often a difficult read and, even when Enke's life seemed to be on an even keel, there was a feeling of doom in the writing. What lifted that doom was the fact that the book was at least in part, a love story between Enke and his wife. Their relationship was beautifully chronicled and one is never left in doubt that Enke was adored by everyone close to him. In a way, that makes his suicide even more tragic but it also shows that mental illness is a cruel cruel thing.

Recommended wholeheartedly, despite its difficult and challenging subject matter.
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Format: Hardcover
I remember being aware of Robert Enke when he became Germany's goalkeeper, but knew little else about him until I heard about his death.

The fact that this book won sports book of the year made me notice, and I decided I would read it without knowing what to expect. I am glad I did, although it has effected me in ways I didn't expect.

I will be honest, I have been close to tears on many occassions while reading it, knowing the books end doesn't detract from the hope you feel all the way through that it will somehow be different. It makes you want to go back in time, find him, give him a big hug, and tell him it will all be ok.

If you have children, the chapters about his daughter and her passing I found particularly hard to read, and had to stop a couple of times to avoid crying. There is one photo of Robert holding Lara at the end of the football season that I stared at for some time.

As others have pointed out, the translation on very few occassions doesn't quite work, but this is such a minor detail that it is barely worth mentioning.

The book is a powerful insight, one of huge ups and downs, and I would recommend anyone to read it, it certainly doesn't make a difference if you like football or not. It is a personal story about a man with a talent, but an illness and how he and his family and friends tried to cope, and the eventual terribly sad end.

Read it, but keep tissues close.
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