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The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy Paperback – June 6, 2000
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From Library Journal
-ALarry Robert Little, Penticton P.L., BC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The main criticisms of the book have to do with the author's actions, as opposed to the literary content. However, I feel I must defend the author for his audacity to suggest tactics to the coach, and for his treatment of the scandal at the end. McGinniss certainly knew he would look like a fool to his readers by writing about his tactical conversations with the coach. His point was not to tell the world he is the foremost expert on soccer, but rather to convey his near mindless obsession with the game and "his" team. Also, his suggestions were not entirely off-base (although inappropriate), since the Italian media constantly criticize coaches for their cautious style of play, and Italian national coaches are always being fired for just such strategy. But for his conversations with the coach, we never would have learned that Italians have four or five different ways of expressing the same vulgar statement.
As for the scandal, readers from Italy or other countries outside America must understand the culture of sports betting in the U.S. One of the most popular baseball players ever, Pete Rose, was banned for life for simply betting on baseball, let alone actually fixing a game.Read more ›
McGinniss is entertaining as he jumps headfirst into -- and quickly becomes a part of -- some aspects of Italian culture that Americans are sure to find interesting: the soccer craze, small-town Abruzzese living, the bonds of family and friends, the patrone of Italian business and mafia, and even the fiesty and periodically outrageous Italian media. As one who has ancestors from Abruzzo and who has spent years living in Italy, Joe McGinnis does a wonderful job of sharing these aspects with the reader within the context of a true and interesting story which keeps one turning the pages.
Incidentally, shortly after reading this book during the summer of '99, I decided to make a pilgrimage to Castel di Sangro. McGinnis' descriptions of the place are quite accurate, although I felt the city had a casual and rundown beauty about it (McGinnis characterizes the place as nondescript). The final stop of my trek was at Marcella's pizzeria. While I did not know the name of her establishment, I simply asked people I met on the street "Where is Marcella's pizzeria?" They all knew, and were able to point me in the right direction.
I must have been the first person to visit Marcella since the publication of the book: she seemed quite surprised and flattered to see me. At first, she thought I was a friend of McGinnis, and seemed a bit puzzled that someone would come to Castel di Sangro simply on the basis of reading Joe's book. McGinnis had sent her a complimentary copy of the book, but she had never read it since she does not understand English. She politely asked me "So what does Joe say about me in the book?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My dad grew up in Castel di Sangro. He immigrated to America when he was 19.
I enjoyed the book immensely.
It's been quite some time since I was moved to write a review. This book, a suggestion by a stranger upon hearing that I wanted to learn more about soccer, and Italian soccer in... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Robert Wellen
A careful, insightful account of a year living with a Mafia-controlled soccer club.Published 13 months ago by Rugby3
Really enjoyed this book. It's not your stereotypical football book. It charts the evolution (or descent depending on your point of view! Read morePublished 15 months ago by P. Dixon
A long time love of soccer led me to this book. I found the book highly enjoyable and engrossing. I read it in a few days and it kept my attention; a rare feat as I typically... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Themonicles
A great read, even if you're not into sports. The ending, while not fictional, just let me down a bit with the actual outcome and its abruptness.Published 20 months ago by JWG
A great human interest story, well written with wonderful characters.Published on August 12, 2014 by Richard E. Dillon
This was fun, if you're a fan of soccer/football or you love Italy. Many good stories and characters. Best to learn the author's Italian as he learns it. Read morePublished on April 11, 2014 by Mentalfloss1