Synopses & Reviews
In the summer of 1950, a most unlikely group was assembled to represent its country in the first soccer World Cup since World War II. The Americans were outsiders to the sport, the underdogs of the event, a 500-to-1 long shot. But they were also proud and loyal men -- to one another, to their communities, and certainly to their country. Facing almost no time to prepare, opponents with superior training, and skepticism from the rest of the world, this ragtag group of unknowns was inspired to a stunning victory over England and one of the most thrilling upsets in the history of sports.
Written by critically acclaimed author Geoffrey Douglas, and now a film directed by David Anspaugh (Hoosiers), The Game of Their Lives takes us back to a time before million-dollar contracts and commercial endorsements, and introduces us to the athletes -- the Americans -- who showed the world just how far a long shot could really go.
In the late spring of 1950, eleven young immigrants' sons, most of them strangers to each other, came together for the love and fun of a game. They came from Missouri, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York, from jobs in canneries, brickyards, post offices, classrooms, and bars, to play for their country in the 1950 World Cup, resulting in what has since been called, by scores of sources for more than forty years, the greatest upset victory in the history of American sports. But no one in America at the time paid attention. Their only public honor - roughly twenty minutes' worth - was from a throng of strangers in a Brazilian mining town. This is the story of the lives of these men: their jobs, wives, sweethearts, neighborhoods, the innocence of their era, the anonymity in which they worked and played. It is the story of heroism, stoicism, and simple unsung grace. Of a time before television, endorsement contracts, movie rights for serial killers, and seven-figure idols who denigrate us all. And ultimately - though it is not a sports story - it is the story of a game, played brilliantly. A single game of soccer, the greater game of life.
About the Author
Geoffrey Douglas is the author of three earlier books of nonfiction—The Game of Their Lives: The Untold Story of the World Cup's Biggest Upset; Dead Opposite: The Lives and Loss of Two American Boys; and Class: The Wreckage of an American Family. An adjunct professor of writing at the University of Massachusetts, he lives in southern New Hampshire.