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Pelle Lindbergh: Behind the White Mask Paperback – September 29, 2009
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In those days there was no quick Internet link, no accessing the Flyers web page or the Philly papers for news. You simply had to wait for the news to come on the TV. Fourteen-year-old boys tend not to think the worst will happen to their sports heroes, and so with a naïve hope I waited and watched. Reports were slow, and ultimately it was announced that Lindbergh was brain dead. He was kept alive long enough for his father to arrive from Sweden a few days later. His life support was then shut off, his organs were donated, and he was gone forever. Hard as it was, the hockey world --- and my 14-year-old world --- had to move on.
Bill Meltzer and Thomas Tynander teamed up to write PELLE LINDBERGH: Behind the White Mask. In Sweden, Lindbergh's home country, the book was a bestseller. The English translation is here now, and it provides incredible insight into his youth, his dream of playing in the NHL, his passion for speed, and the devastating effect his fatal accident had on everyone around him.
Meltzer and Tynander show us a young Göran Per-Eric "Pelle" Lindbergh growing up as an active and hockey-obsessed boy in Sweden. His gifts were recognizable early on, though he lacked the drive in practices to push himself. Despite his disinterest in practice, Lindbergh excelled in games and ultimately secured a spot on the Swedish National Team.Read more ›
This book is his story, originally written in Swedish, that covers his early life in Sweden, his short career in professional hockey, his tragic death, and the aftermath. The presentation of the biography is unusual since it is told in alternating chapters which cover either Lindbergh's early life leading up to his drafting by the Philadelphia Flyers in the odd-numbered chapters, while the even-numbered chapters cover his time with the Flyers and leading up to his death in 1985 and the events that occurred afterward.
I was pulled into the first half of the book as I followed a young Pelle learning to skate and play goal, playing in junior leagues, and representing Sweden in international competitions in one set of alternating chapters and following his early professional career in the others. It was a happy story of a hard-working kid with talent showing his stuff and winning the prize he had dreamed of: being drafted by and playing for his favorite team and being mentored by his goaltending hero, Bernie Parent.
If only the story had continued to be happy or ended there without going into the dark side of real life that I knew had to be told in order to be complete. While I read the first half in one evening, I found that reading the second half of the book to be a chore, not because of anything wrong with the writing, but because I knew what was coming. The bad news, the reality.Read more ›
I wanted to love the book, and it is meticulously researched. But I would have preferred that the book be laid out in a more traditional format. The chapters alternate between a minute-by-minute account of Lindbergh's fatal accident to chapters dealing with him growing up in Sweden and his road to winning the Vezina Trophy in the NHL. As mentioned in the overview of the book, the work was originally written in Swedish and released in Pelle's home country. As a North American, several of the chapters with heavy Swedish references to obscure Swedish musicians and Swedish pop culture seemed to drag on and were a bit confusing. But I understand that the book was originally written for a Swedish audience.
The book does have lots of good points as well, though. The research is outstanding. The authors talked to dozens of sources ranging from Pelle's family to teammates and coaches from throughout his entire hockey career. The tiny details in the book are amazing. For example, who knew that the impound lot where Pelle's wrecked Porsche was taken following his accident was guarded by a police dog named Gretchen?
Even as someone who has lived the Philadelphia area my entire life, I never knew the level of details surrounding Lindbergh's fatal accident. The book really fleshes out Lindbergh's personality and how the accident affected his family and teammates. The book also contains many quotes from Lindbergh's friends discussing how scary it was to ride with Pelle in his Porsche because he drove way too fast.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome book, great reading, I actually felt like I was there, being a flyer fan ,it brought back memories ,good and badPublished on June 26, 2012 by MAZZC
This is a must read not just for Flyers fans but any hockey fan. But you don't have to be a fan of the sport to enjoy the story of the man. Read morePublished on October 9, 2011 by Oregon Joe
Lifelong Flyer fan and Pelle fan who remembers that time all too well. This is a good read for anyone interested in his story. Read morePublished on August 8, 2011 by Amazon Customer