The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy Master storyteller Joe McGinniss travels to Italy to cover the unlikely success of a ragtag minor league soccer team and delivers a brilliant and utterly unforgettable story of life in an off the beat

  • Title: The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy
  • Author: Joe McGinniss
  • ISBN: 9780767905992
  • Page: 131
  • Format: Paperback
  • Master storyteller Joe McGinniss travels to Italy to cover the unlikely success of a ragtag minor league soccer team and delivers a brilliant and utterly unforgettable story of life in an off the beaten track Italian village.When Joe McGinniss sets out for the remote Italian village of Castel di Sangro one summer, he merely intends to spend a season with the village s socMaster storyteller Joe McGinniss travels to Italy to cover the unlikely success of a ragtag minor league soccer team and delivers a brilliant and utterly unforgettable story of life in an off the beaten track Italian village.When Joe McGinniss sets out for the remote Italian village of Castel di Sangro one summer, he merely intends to spend a season with the village s soccer team, which only weeks before had, miraculously, reached the second highest ranking professional league in the land But soon he finds himself embroiled with an absurd yet irresistible cast of characters, including the team s owner, described by the New York Times as straight out of a Mario Puzo novel, and coach Osvaldo Jaconi, whose only English word is the one he uses to describe himself bulldozer As the riotous, edge of your seat season unfolds, McGinniss develops a deepening bond with the team, their village and its people, and their country Traveling with the miracle team, from the isolated mountain region where Castel di Sangro is located to gritty towns as well as grand cities, McGinniss introduces us to an Italy that no tourist guidebook has ever described, and comes away with a sad, funny, desolating, and inspiring story everything, in fact, a story should be Los Angeles Times.

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    About “Joe McGinniss

    • Joe McGinniss

      Joe McGinniss is was an American journalist, non fiction writer and novelist He first came to prominence with the best selling The Selling of the President 1968 which described the marketing of then presidential candidate Richard Nixon It spent than six months on best seller lists He is popularly known for his trilogy of bestselling true crime books Fatal Vision, Blind Faith and Cruel Doubt which were adapted into several TV miniseries and movies Over the course of forty years, McGinniss published twelve books.

    250 thoughts on “The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy

    • Before there were all those book trading sites like bookmooch, bookcrossing and even , I took my copy of The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy, signed my name in the inside cover and sent it to a friend. It made the rounds and came back to me after five people had read it. I sent it out again; it has since disappeared. But that's okay because I know that at least six people, other than myself (and including my Mom who passed a couple of years ago), re [...]


    • Middle-aged American journalist unexpectedly falls in love with Italian football after watching Roberto Baggio play in the 1990 World Cup, as anyone with good taste would have done. One thing leads to another and he ends up moving to a tiny town in a remote and poor region of southern Italy to follow the local team, Castel di Sangro Calcio, who have improbably managed to get promoted to Serie B, and write a book about their "miracle." Hijinks ensue. The good: McGinniss was a fine narrative write [...]


    • 2.5 stars.This book should've been called Joe McGinniss Goes to Italy So That Joe McGinniss Can Talk to Italians and Report on how They React to Joe McGinniss by Joe McGinniss. A really great sports story is hidden somewhere in these 404 pages, but I'd forgive you if you missed it. McGinniss spends most of the book arguing with the coach about tactics (even though he knows nothing about soccer), claiming that he's as close to the team as if they were family (even though a player's son says his f [...]


    • This could have been a wonderful book, the story it tells of Castel di Sangro's season in Serie B is amazing but it's ruined by the presence of the author. I could cope with the explanations of various football terms (penalty kicks, corners etc) but the author's arrogant and self obsessed attitude really bugged me. He became more and more annoying as the story progressed. Why did he think the experienced coach should have listened to his suggestions regarding team selection and tactics? He'd bee [...]


    • In the early stages of fanaticism there’s a giddy sense of becoming part of something larger-than-life. In time, a fan is rewarded for picking up on subtleties, aspiring to be among the cognoscenti. Then in the more mature and philosophical stages the proselytizing begins and the sport may even become “a metaphor for life.” With an objective step back, though, Gods and heroes become mortal. Joe McGinniss is a football (a.k.a. soccer) fan who has been through these stages. He does a great j [...]



    • My review published in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1999:Having a Ball in ItalyAuthor spends a year chronicling the fanatical world of a small-town soccer teamREVIEWED BY Steve KettmannSunday, August 22, 1999THE MIRACLE OF CASTEL DI SANGROBy Joe McGinniss Little, Brown; 404 pages; $25 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------One starts out Joe McGinniss' account of his year with a small-town Italian soccer club feeling sorry for the author for embarrassin [...]


    • A great combination of sport, story telling, and an American’s view of Italy. Very much enjoyed reading this and thank Nicolai for the recommendation


    • Joe McGinniss proslul jako autor true crime reportáží, knih jdoucích po zákulisí financování politických kampaní apod. A tak u titulu mapující jednu sezónu "italského zázraku", který v průběhu konce osmdesátek a devadesátek vystoupal z nejvíc pralesní ligy až do Serie B jako tým z nejmenšího "skoro už města" v historii (a to bez rozpočtu či adekvátního kádru), bych čekal seriózní pohled do zákulisí mafiánem vedeného klubu a jaký dopad má tento "zázrak" [...]


    • This book is great! Its hilarious how the coach and the maker of the team scraps a bunch of random people and make a soccer team. The author gives a vivid picture of the team so you get what he is talking about even though you dont know much soccer. Its funny because its a little soccer team from the poorest region of Italy, Castel di Sangro and they actually go to the national competition. His training techniques are strange too. When the team goes to a hotel, he purposely gets the rooms on the [...]


    • This is more than just a book about soccer. It's about relationships and how those shape both events and lives. It's about how soccer is an essential part of Italian culture, but also how Italian culture shapes the calcio. And if anyone's worried about not understanding either the soccer or the league system, McGinniss is pretty good about explaining things clearly, but not talking down to the reader. In general his writing is evocative and emotional - the sort of sports writing we need more of. [...]


    • **From the shelf of Dr. Davide J.**I’m shocked at the amount of cojones Joe McGinniss demonstrates when finding out that “maletines” exist in soccer. Overall this just makes a young 29 year old want to move to Lecco and document the life of a semi-pro biking team even more. Fun read on Italian culture, new curse words to be used when needed, and some much needed lessons on The Boot’s geography.


    • I thought that The Miracle of Castel di Sangro would be a light-hearted story of a small-town (pop: 5,000) soccer team making it into the big time. In a way, this is accurate, on the other hand, what with the mafia, crooked owners, and seedier parts of the Italian culture, Joe McGinniss shaped a story that after about the halfway mark left me wondering. The first indication that this would not be such a light-hearted story was when I flipped to the photos and read in the captions that some of th [...]


    • A very entertaining book. The Author tries to give an honest account of his season with Italy's football club Caste di Sangro, who were miraculously peomoted to serie A in the nineties. The slight problem is that McGinnis does not really understand football (and keeps calling it socccer, unfortunately) or the culture around football. His outlook is so very American, it's sometimes like he thinks the serie A is governed like the NFL or NBA.His naivete is charming at times. Like when he thinks he [...]


    • A fascinating peek into the intersection of sport and small-town Italian culture! SO many things about the bizarro nature of football in Italy are explained in the microcosm of Castel di Sangro - and the author's increasingly unhinged personal involvement in the story made it completely unputdownable.


    • A very interesting story given to me by a good friend. By the end, I really disliked the author and was ready to stop reading about him. Afterwards, I felt like he focused a lot of the book on negatives (in typical journalist fashion). And it didn't make me feel proud of being Italian. So not one I'd recommend.



    • The story here is excellent. The setting is vivid and picturesque. The pacing is rapid. There are enough plot twists (but not too many). All of this is more impressive in a contemporary nonfiction account. But there are two major weaknesses, one probably unpreventable, the other in my mind an unfortunate mistake on the part of McGinniss. The more forgivable of the two is related to characterization. There are something like two dozen men on the soccer team, and each of them needs separate charac [...]


    • The Miracle of Castel di Sangro is a sports book written by Joe McGinniss. The books follows a struggling Castel di Sangro Calcio soccer club. The timeline is the 1996-1997 season for the soccer club. The whole book is based off the author's perspective as he traveled to this small town in Italy of less than 10,000 people to observe and watch the soccer club push for glory. The book starts off with Joe McGinniss' background in America when he fell in love with the sport of soccer and especially [...]


    • "Il guaio con te, Joe, e che sai rispondere a tutte le domande anche sei non sai proprio niente." "Joe, the trouble with you is that you knows everything. But in the same times you knows nothing that you talks about."The above quotes, the first in Italian by Mister Jaconi, the coach of the team, and the following English translation by a young player on the team, may as well have been the title of the book. Author, Joe McGinniss falls in love with soccer in his 50's after watching the 1994 World [...]


    • Never heard of this book before but I found this in the sports section of the Friends of the Public Library in Cincinnati. I have found a new obsession: soccer. The author had the same issue a few years ago and decided to follow an Italian soccer team which had just been promoted to Serie B, the second level of soccer in Italy. Like most sports stories in revolves about the fantastic characters but adds an education to the typical American what soccer means to others around the world, especially [...]


    • Some people said they didn't like how this was about the author talking about his experiences, but I thought that was the point of the book. I enjoyed his observations of Italian life.I was surprised at his attitude. He was truly the ugly American: telling the coach how he should coach the team, when he had only recently begun watching soccer.I don't know what his publication contract was as far as time goes. I think he could have used more of a break before publication so he could gain some per [...]


    • McGinnis, Joe, The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy (Boston: Little & Brown, 1999). ‘Pazzo’ Joe loopt een jaar lang mee met het eerste voetbalteam van Castel di Sangro, een klein stadje in de Italiaanse Abruzzen, dat op wonderlijke wijze is doorgedrongen tot de Italiaanse serie B. Het levert een onvergetelijk, hilarisch, ontroerend en schokkend portret op van het leven rondom het Italiaanse voetbal in de tweede liga. “Everything is exciting [...]


    • Well written story recounting the events of the miracolous Castel di Sangro team of 97 who won promotion to serie B, the second tier of Italian football, and their struggle not to be relegated the following year. The author spent most of the season living in the small mountain town in close proximity with players and club officials, and gives us a glimpse of life in a small yet fully professional football outfit, with its moments of joy, drama, personal and professional highs and lows.


    • I really enjoyed this book - author Joe McGinniss had me hooked. The setting in Italy, the players, manager and townspeople of Castel di Sangro, my love of soccer/futbol and the journalistic style was a perfect storm for me. I couldn't wait to find out if this small-town team could survive in Serie B.I am jealous of the entire season McGinniss spent with this team, becoming neighbors and friends with the players. And I'm in awe that he did it!


    • What a fun read! Knowledge of futbol is helpful but not essential as McGinniss fills in the blanks for anyone not familiar with the game. Full disclosure-I have taken vacations around important matches & World Cups so I'm not unbiased. I am unfamiliar with Italian Serie B teams, but this is as much about McGinniss' love affair with the town of Castel di Sangro and its people as anything else. He puts you at the matches with all the roller coaster emotions that they so often entail. And a cas [...]


    • A fantastic real life tale of an American journalist spending time with small-town Serie B football (soccer) team in a remote part of Italy.The emotional involvement of Joe McGinniss is endearing and surprising, but leads to complex relationships with the team and management. As the season and personal lives unfold, McGinniss documents and recalls it all with fervour and passion.A unique and loving reflection on Italian character, culture and football.



    • This book was about 100 pages too long and it was more of a chore to finish than a want. Overall, I give it a three mostly for the characters and for the heart of the story.


    • I love this book and I would easily given it 5 stars if not for the ending. The author stuck his nose where it didn't belong.


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