The Miracle of Castel di Sangro

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro

4.15 (2,621 ratings by Goodreads)
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Through 1996 and 1997 bestselling author Joe McGinniss followed the Italian football season from Castel di Sangro, a small town nestled in the Abruzzi region of Italy. The motley crew that comprised the di Sangro soccer team in the early 90s masked an unparalleled prowess for playing soccer. This is the story of a team and a town with no aspirations, just a passion for the game, and how that passion allowed this team to rise to the top of the professional Italian soccer league. With the lust for life of Robert Crichton's THE SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIA and the sporting dreams of modern movie classic FIELDS OF DREAMS, THE MIRACLE OF CASTEL DI SANGRO is an ebullient story of how a two-hour game transformed a dot on the map into a place of magic, miracles and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 122 x 196 x 34mm | 358.34g
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Sphere
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Section: 16, B&W
  • 075152753X
  • 9780751527537
  • 79,646

Review quote

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. OBSERVERshow more

About Joe McGinniss

As a young man Joe McGinniss shot to literary stardom with The Selling of the President, his account of the 1968 American Election. He is the author of the international bestsellers BLIND FAITH and FATAL more

Review Text

This venture into the murky waters of Italian soccer begins as a radical departure for the best-selling journalist McGinnis (The Last Brother, not reviewed, etc.), known more for his true crime volumes than his sports reporting. Over the first few chapters McGinniss explains how he became enamored of the world's most popular sport after watching the 1994 World Cup, which took place in the US. He pursued his newfound love to one of the hotbeds of football (to give it its proper name) mania, Italy. There he stumbled across an enchanting true-to-life fairy tale, the story of a beleaguered minor-league team from Castel di Sangro, a tiny mountain town in the gut-wrenchingly poor Abruzzo region, a team that had managed to climb up the ladder of soccer success. McGinniss resolved to spend the entire season with the Castel di Sangro team to see if they would survive a year in Serie B representing the smallest municipality to ever send a team that high in Italian football. At first, this seems unlikely and even unpromising material for McGinniss, but as he develops emotional ties to the individual players, the wacky coach who calls himself "a bulldozer," and the somewhat sinister figures who run the team, the book takes on a certain delightful momentum. Gradually, readers will come to care for and admire these young men with the same intensity as the author. Regrettably, it all turns sour at the end - for reasons having nothing to do with the outcome of their season's efforts - in ways that recapitulate the ending of McGinniss's relationship with other subjects, notably Jeffrey Macdonald, whom he wrote about in Fatal Vision. Too often, the author makes himself the center of his story; but he is too good a reporter not to convey some of what makes the sport and the people around it so compelling. Up to the last 40 pages, an entertaining and often moving read. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

2,621 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 43% (1,115)
4 38% (986)
3 15% (381)
2 4% (99)
1 2% (40)
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