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Read this soccer book while you are stuck at home

This is a story that will stay with you for a long time.

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Superga air disaster, On May 4, 1949, a Fiat G-212 plane carrying almost the entire Torino A.C. football squad popularly known as “Il Grande Torino” crashed into the hill of Superga near Turin killing all 31 aboard including 18 players, club official Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images

I’ve read a lot of soccer books over the years. There’s a lot of great stories told, and at some point I’ll try to offer a full list of books to read if you have a lot of downtime, which many of us do during this coronavirus shutdown.

But if you need one thing soccer-related to read, that both is and is not about soccer, I have one top recommendation.

It’s called Erbstein: The triumph and tragedy of football’s forgotten pioneer, it is by Dominic Bliss and it was released in 2014. The story is about Erno Egri Erbstein, the manager of Italian club Torino, during their time as the dominant side in Serie A, not their crosstown rivals Juventus.

If you know what happened to Erbstein and Torino in 1949, you’ll have an idea of what happened at the end of his life. If you don’t know, you’ll be taken for quite a ride. But even if you know the backstory of “Grande Torino,” there’s a ton about Erbstein’s backstory that you likely have never heard.

What makes this book especially memorable? It combines soccer, European history in the 20th century, and all through the biography of one man. The tragedy in this story is multi-fold — after the book is done, it’s devastating to look back on how Erbstein fought for his life and ultimately, because of a twist of fate, could not be saved.

All that said, it’s an easy read and even if the story is heavy, if you have any interest in the past and some of the past history of the sport, this is a compelling story.

Best of all? It’s only $5 on Amazon Kindle, which you can read on a Kindle or on any device on the Kindle app. As someone who almost exclusive reads electronic books these days, this is a good price and absolutely a worthwhile read. Hope you enjoy it.

Got any book recommendations? I’d be happy to take a few myself. If you have any, or if you read this book and have thoughts, let’s chat in the comments.

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