The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory

The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory : The Story of Bela Guttman

4.07 (119 ratings by Goodreads)
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Before Pep Guardiola and before Jose Mourinho, there was Bela Guttmann: the first superstar football coach, and the man who paved the way for the celebrated coaches of the modern age.

was also a Holocaust survivor. In 1944, much of Europe had wanted Guttmann
dead. He hid for months in an attic near Budapest as thousands of fellow Jews
in the neighbourhood were dragged off to be murdered. Later, he escaped from a
slave labour camp before a planned deportation and almost certain death. His
father, sister and wider family were murdered.

by 1961, as coach of Benfica, he had lifted Europe's greatest sporting prize,
the European Cup, a feat he repeated the following year.

biography spans two contrasting visions of Europe: one of barbarism and
genocide, and one of beauty, wonder and romance, of balmy evenings in
magnificent cities, where great players would stretch every sinew in a bid to
win football's holy grail. With dark forces rising once again in that
continent, the story of Bela Guttmann's life asks the question: which vision
will triumph in our times?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 153 x 198 x 25.4mm | 294.84g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1785903713
  • 9781785903717
  • 222,285

Review quote

"David Bolchover s exceptional biography of Guttmann, tells the parts of this story that Guttmann rarely addressed, using thorough research and a winning voice to produce the most comprehensive record of his life....The Greatest Comeback is a massive achievement as both a sports biography and a survivor s tale, a harrowing and rewarding read. " Foreword Reviews
"History and memoir offer insights into other times and lives that make Britain's current miserable travails marginally more tolerable. The Greatest Comeback by David Bolchover is astonishing, not least for its unlikely melding of football and mass murder, two of my daily passions." Phillipe Sands, Guardian
"David Bolchover has produced a remarkable work: as a history book alone, it carries the reader through a hideous chunk of the twentieth century in the most deft and compelling way, while as a biography of a great football coach it is both original and definitive." Patrick Barclay, football writer
"Moving, original, full of insight, this is a gripping tale told by a skilled storyteller. You don't need to be interested in the Holocaust to find this fascinating account of some great footballing moments absorbing. And you don't need to be interested in football to want to learn about this tale of survival. But if you are by chance interested in both, you will find this book extraordinary." Daniel Finkelstein, associate editor, The Times
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About David Bolchover

David Bolchover is an author and commentator. He has published three previous books, including the bestselling 90-Minute Manager, which explored the various management styles of the great football coaches. He has written for a number of leading newspapers, such as The Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times, and has frequently appeared on the BBC, Sky and other broadcast outlets.
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Rating details

119 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 34% (40)
4 45% (53)
3 18% (22)
2 3% (3)
1 1% (1)
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