“Bolchover located Bela Guttman, arguably football’s first celebrity coach, amid the cultural and sporting traditions of central European Jews and unravelled the mystery of how he survived the Holocaust.”
Featured in The Guardian’s Best Sports Books of 2017.
Before rising to fame as the most influential coach in the history of soccer, Bela Guttmann had to face many difficult challenges in life, such as: escaping from getting captured during the Holocaust, losing his family to the Nazis and breaking out of a labor camp moments before his fellow prisoners were executed.
The Greatest Comeback is the exceptional biography of Guttmann that narrates the parts of this story that he seldom declaimed. The author David Bolchover has carried out extensive research to craft the most compendious record of his life.
Hakoah Vienna (1909-38) was an exceptional organization whose members surpassed in many sports. Béla Guttmann, being the center back of Hakoah, was one of the ten players who stayed in New York to play for teams there. Guttmann recollects that it was one of the most spontaneous smart decisions he had taken.
He lost his father, sister and a wider family in the Nazi massacre. Despite choosing to return to his native Budapest in 1938, especially during the times when Jewish persecution was intemperate, Guttmann miraculously survived by living through the Holocaust, and finally escaping from a labor camp.
15 years later, he proved himself as one of the greatest soccer coaches of the 20th-century.
The research done by Bolchover in writing this book is truly impeccable. Overall, The Greatest Comeback is a profoundly obscure salute to a uniquely gifted soccer coach, who contended through the harrowing world of Nazism.