The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, by Joe McGinniss

McGinniss passed away earlier this year, and before he died, he was most recently known as the journalist who moved into a home in Alaska next door to Sarah Palin in order to write about the VP candidate. But McGinniss, author of Fatal Vision, a best-selling true crime book from the 1980s, shows his narrative chops in this 1999 examination of life in a tiny Italian town with an on-the-verge soccer team. Embedded with third-division Castel di Sangro, McGinniss gets deep into the lives of a collection of players who never really expected to be playing big-time soccer, and the tale reveals the mundane along with the seedy side of the sport. But for those looking for insight into the Italian "calico" fanatic, the book's introductory pages are worth reading. McGinness finds himself in the company of a true "tifoso" while traveling through the country by train on a game day, and the guy rivals the most fervent Packers fan .