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The Miracle Of Castel Di Sangro Paperback – 3 Aug 2000
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This wonderful, compelling book seems destined to join the shortlist of football classics (INDEPENDENT)
A gripping and engaging tale (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
The most essential football book other than FEVER PITCH and THE GLORY GAME (FOUR-FOUR-TWO MAGAZINE)
reads like good fiction. (OBSERVER)
* A modern football fairytale and an extraordinary story of an Italian village and its football team's rise to the top against seemingly impossible odds.See all Product description
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The lazy town of Castel Di Sangro, population of 5,000, hosting a Serie B team was crazy enough, the fact that the story of their 96/97 season was told by an American, even crazier. Joe McGinnis, a writer who fell in love with the Sport during the '94 World Cup, follows up his obsession with Roberto Baggio and travels to Italy, discovers the story, and decides he must report on the fairy-tale. McGinniss doesn't just report on the wonderful sporting story of the minnows one promotion away from the world's best league, but instead becomes part of the family of the club, living opposite the manager, befriending the players, dining at the team restaurant, even having relationships (albeit strained) with the shady ownership.
The thing that makes this book great is the human qualities and stories of the players, a remarkable collection of Italian men who despite their profession lead very different lives. If you love football, you'll love it, but the book touches on scandal, racism, communism, corruption, drugs, death, imprisonment, and that's just off the top of my head. You might improve your Italian as well.
The protagonists open up to the author so much so that every goal conceded is a dagger to your heart, every point gained in the struggle to avoid relegation celebrated. Quite frankly, this review cannot do it justice. It's simply too great, and too real a story. Forza Castel Di Sangro!
However, an arse you may be Joe but the fact is that you are a passionate arse with a big heart and an amazing storyteller to boot. You had one amazing year. This is a great book and I would encourage any football fan (not just Italian football fan) to read it. 5 stars.
It stands as an excellent social history of football and gives a great insight into Italian culture and the diversity of human nature. By the end of the book I felt that I knew the characters like my own family. I read this in Sicily on holiday and felt a real sense of place.
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