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El Milagro de Castel di Sangro
El Milagro de Castel di Sangro

El Milagro de Castel di Sangro

Un Cuento de Pasión y Locura en el Corazón de Italia


512 Pages, 6 x 8.75

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $27.95 (US $27.95) (CA $33.95)

Publication Date: January 2016

ISBN 9788494216763

Rights: US & CA

Contra (Jan 2016)

Price: $27.95


During 1994's World Cup in the United States, Joe McGinniss develops a passion that changes his life forever, going against North America's historical lack of interest in soccer as a whole. He discovers the intense emotions brought on by the sport and Italy's "calcio," succumbing to Roberto Baggio's style, which impresses and fails spectacularly in equal parts during that particular World Cup. Soon after, now a full-blown soccer convert, McGinniss understands the achievements of an underdog team from Castel di Sangro, a town of fewer than 5,000 residents lost within the rural Abruzos of Italy. The courage, talent, and fearlessness of the young team, led by "bulldozer" Osvaldo Jaconi, brings the team from an amateur league to Series B of the professional league in a mere few years, marking a milestone in the history of soccer. Because McGinniss immortalizes that incredible feat, he decides to go to the small town to record the glory days of Castel di Sangro from 1996 and 1997. This book about that epic time period captures the passion of soccer like few other accounts, with Fellini-esque portraits of the main cast—the players, the coach, residents of the town, and the shady organization that backs the team with activities similar to those of the Mafia—a fresh, memorable history colored by happiness, devastation, mystery, crime, death, and all the drama that soccer in its purest state reveals.


"Rich in comic incidents, delightful characters, and dramatic surprises."  —New York Times, on the English-language edition

"Soccer acts as a lens through which the author sees the real Italy, the medium-sized industrial towns where people live and work, away from the tourist's gaze. McGinniss went looking for a soccer team and found lives filled with humor and tragedy."  —Wall Street Journal, on the English-language edition

"What McGinniss recounts in this wonderful memoir is the stuff of Italian opera—passion, buffoonery, courage, treachery, and tragedy."  —Dallas Morning News, on the English-language edition

"A classic of cultures colliding."  —Independent, on the English-language edition

"More than a mere history of the team's improbable season, this book provides the reader with insights into the passionate world of Italian soccer. The journey documents the trials and tribulations surrounding a professional sports team. Certainly a good read for soccer fans as well as for other sports enthusiasts; recommended for purchase where demand warrants."  —Library Journal, on the English-language edition

"McGinniss captures the fanaticism of soccer fans and the idiosyncrasies of the team members, such as the publicity-hungry manager Gabriele Gravina, married to the niece of the team's owner, the mysterious Godfather-like Signor Rezza. McGinniss travels with the team throughout Italy, describing the different cultures as well as the technicalities of the sport. . . . After investing a year of his life, McGinniss is disappointed in this ultimate proof that he can never understand the culture, no matter how much he loved the game. One doesn't have to be a soccer fan to enjoy this fascinating book."  —Booklist, on the English-language edition

Author Biography

Joe McGinniss was a bestselling nonfiction author who wrote for GQ, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Observer, and Sunday Telegraph. He was the recipient of the William Hill Sports Book Award and Four-Four Two magazine's Best Book of the Season. He is the author of Blind Faith, Cruel Doubt, Fatal Vision, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, and The Selling of the President: The Classic Account of the Packaging of a Candidate.