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A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  2,868 ratings  ·  173 reviews
Winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, the biography of Robert Enke, the international footballer with the world at his feet who took his own life

Here, award-winning writer Ronald Reng pieces together the puzzle of his lost friend's life. On November 10, 2009, the German national goalkeeper, Robert Enke, stepped in front of a passing train. He was 32 years old
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Yellow Jersey (first published September 2010)
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Mandi | No Apathy Allowed
By November 2009, after over a year of living in Germany (with a lifelong soccer fan), I was more or less pretty up-to-date with what was going on in the German soccer world. I certainly knew that Robert Enke was the star goalie for Hannover 96, which is mein Schatz's home team. His pint-sized soccer-obsessed godson in Hannover had even managed to have his photo taken with Enke, which was blown up and proudly hanging over the little one's bed. I also knew that Robert Enke was the leading contend ...more
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that's left its mark. Even though you know the ending, you just can't help hoping that there'll be a happy end. Whether you're a football (soccer) fan or not - this is a must-read. Extremely impressing and so unbelievably tragic. Not only does it open your eyes regarding depression, but also regarding how media and society treat those in the public eye and how we tend to turn a blind eye to the true problems of the people around us.

It has also changed the way I regard very certain footba
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book, about a short life in sport, but much more about life than sport. Robert Enke committed suicide following a severe bout of depression, but it would be such a shame to let that define him, and this book sets out to define what came before the tragedy.
The author, a journalist and friend of Robert Enke, looks deeply, but never intrusively, into Enke's history to reveal the all too human side that may otherwise be missed when a celebrity takes his or her own life. I certainly never
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
A really excellent book and a much needed examination of depression. When Pep Guardiola recently took some time out of the game, morons like Colin Murray were joking about how could he suffer from stress...blah blah blah. Now I realise Murray is a twunt of the highest order but I still felt compelled to text him 'remember Enke and Speed you fool'. There is a total lack of understanding of depression as an illness and this book does a great job of addressing that, the obvious conclusion to the bo ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I first saw the news on Soccernet. Robert Enke jumps in front of a train, aged 32. It was a really shocking moment for soccer and for sport. I had heard his name before, but I wasn’t familiar with German football players in general. Of course, time dilutes things. Life had to go on, and I paid no further heed to the tragic news.

That was back in 2009.

Today, I finished reading A Life Too Short – The Tragedy of Robert Enke, written by Enke’s friend Ronald Reng. It was a deeply personal and immensel
Jack Stevenson
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Because I have an incredibly short attention span, there are very few books I would describe as 'un-put-down-able.' This book was un-put-down-able. Despite the heart-wrenching subject matter, I read the first 100 pages, stopped for a cup of tea, read another 150, stopped for a sandwich, and then finished it. I lost a whole afternoon and a solid chunk of the evening to this book, but I didn't remotely care, because I felt like what I was reading was incredibly important, and I was right. There ar ...more
Just read it. It's well written, it takes you by the hand and slowly, slowly introduces you to the dark sides of a depressed mind. It's very tough at times - it's been for me, at least - but it also helped me understand. There are so many moments, situations I remember and now see them from another angle. At the same time, my general idea of Robert (and many of those close to him/not close to him) hasn't changed a bit. Meaning I still like/adore those I liked/adored before and I still despise th ...more
Darren O'Toole
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As hard-hitting a sports book as you could ever expect to find. Those who know the tragic story of Robert Enke would obviously know that this book was never going to be an uplifting affair, however I was still left unprepared for the final couple of chapters. Excellently written, you feel you want to share Robert's pain and tell him that it'll all be ok, only to know that the outcome is inevitable. A real insight into the suffering that those with mental illnesses have and highlights how the wor ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A deeply moving insight into the mind of severely depressive footballer. Having suffered from depression for 12 years some parts really struck a chord with me. A must read whether you suffer from depression or not. Even if you don't like football, read it. Depression needs to be understood and this book can only help it to be better understood by those who do not understand what it is like for the sufferer.

A talented goalkeeper, a life too short.

Jonathan Smeds
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've read quite a few autobiographies, but this one is by far the most important one to exist. The book is more than just a story of a footballers career and life, it's also an in depth story of the mind by someone struggling with depression. Robert Enke was a man living his dream, a few months shy from playing in the World cup and just having a daughter when he decided to commit suicide. For anyone outside his inner circle it didn't make sense. After reading this book, however, it tragically do ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm not a big follower of German football, so I first heard about goalkeeper Robert Enke when I read news of his suicide. This biography had been in the planning before the truth of his underlying depression became apparent with that tragic moment. I thought the tone of this book was fantastically well pitched as a very informative tale of the effects of depression on one individual and his family. But he was also a remarkable footballer and his life and career are also recounted here too. It is ...more
Belli Mor
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“It would be too much to hope that the illness will be better understood all of a sudden, but perhaps this book will do something to help depressives find more sympathy and understanding” Ronald Reng.
I sure hope so Mr Reng.
It took me a long time to be able to read this book. I have always followed European football and to this date I could still remember sitting at my computer when the news of Mr Enke death came thru the internet. Sad that such a promising life had to end at the hands of this b
Priyanka -
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first book I have read on Depression and to what extent can it consume a person,in this case Robert Enke,regarded to be the no 1 goalkeeper of Germany at a point of time.It overwhelming and heart wrenching to know how difficult is it to lead a life suffering from Depression.One of those books which leaves you in tears and without words.
I still hope that depression should be accepted and not frowned upon,so that we can help people come out of it.Acceptance and Empathy shall make their
Much more than another football book, this is really a brilliant, moving examination of depression in a man who happened to be a goalkeeper. In fact, the descriptions of the nature and effects of depression, particularly in chapter 12 and the final quarter of the book, are better than those in texts specifically for coaching or learning about depression.
Gary Watts
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sport, biography
Deep insight into elite goalkeeping and the sorrow of depression. This book will leave a lifelong impression on me and is a must for everyone whether you're a football fan or not. ...more
Sourya Dey
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sport
Extremely well-written. Do yourself a favor and read this book. You'll discover a new-found appreciation for life, and humans. ...more
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: football
I read this mainly due to universally positive reviews, and they were justified. The pacing of the book was handled excellently and it kept the right balance between sensitivity and mawkishness for what was a difficult subject.

The suicide that prompted this book is well-known in the football world; Enke's career probably isn't, and Reng covers both in a long biography of a footballer he knew personally. As a result, the personal elements seem more genuine, and Reng has interviewed a number of En
Emily Hide
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm a depressive, which made me want to avoid this book originally; the reason I decided to read it was almost entirely based on an appreciation of Reng's writing. I'd read Matchdays and felt so endeared by Heinz Höher through Reng's writing (even through translation) that I thought I could read Reng's biography of another depressive and not feel patronised.
It's a hard book to read, but that shouldn't be a surprise. It's endearing, captivating, beautifully written and I never felt that the prob
Dan Lee
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Heartbreaking. Remarkably well-written - Reng tells Enke's story with respect and care, but without injecting his own feelings into the narrative. This is particularly impressive, as the author and the subject of the book were friends. ...more
Andy Mackenzie
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Enlightening,harrowing and beautifuly written. If you're not a football fan don't be put off from reading as this is so much more than a sports book. ...more
Sophie robertson
Apr 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Quite good but very definitely too cloying and sentimental.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Juuso Sallinen
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most powerful books I've ever encountered. Having lost a close one to depression as well, part of the books felt very personal, and based on my own experiences I can only assume that Reng transmits the feelings and struggles of a depressive quite well without first hand knowledge. There's not been a book that would've touched me so deeply emotionally as this did.

Enke's story is at the same time extremely enlightening, interesting, sad and hard to comprehend. There are probably a lot
Farizi Fatwa
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful account of Robert Enke's life. A calm, loving, and perfectionist by nature, Robert's struggles both in and off the pitch were perfectly captured by Ronald Reng, who is one of Robert's closest confidant that personally know him since his days in Barcelona.

Robert was considered as one of the finest goalkeepers in his generation, and sadly, his marvelous talent has brought a huge pressure throughout his career, which ultimately becomes one of the deciding factors that contributed to his
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A sad story and although in the end we can only know what was understood from people on the outside rather than what was going on in Robert's head, this gave a strong impression of living with depression both for the sufferer and their family and friends constantly on tenterhooks.

There were also interesting insights into the life of the pro footballer, changing clubs and sometimes countries every couple of years or so and contantly fretting over the next contract and trying to establish yourself
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Had never heard of Robert Enke until stumbling across this biography while seeking a "football" related story for the fall sporting season. Turns out he was a talented goalkeeper for several European soccer clubs, most notably Hannover 96 in the German Bundelsiga from 2006 until his self-inflicted death in 2009.

The best part of this book for me comes from the realization that star performers on a field or stage are not immune from the same emotional and mental challenges faced by all. Professio
Daniel Saleh
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really wanted to read this book as I remember being really taken aback when this happened. Reng offers a good insight into how Robert's life was framed with mental illness from a young age and how it eventually got the better of him.

There is obviously a lot that has been left out of this book due to the personal nature of the content but it still will hit home with a lot of people who are suffering and there were many parallels in his behaviour that I have seen in myself from time to time.

Pink Sun
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
#kindle 2019.7.3 Altually my first english novel to finishing reading from first page to the last although last for almost a year. As for the reason of choosing this book, firstly I like play football, I want to know the real life of a professional footballer from this book; I don't like the first half of the book as there are so many names hard to recognize and remember for me. But after that part, when robert just returned to German, I found this book became much more charming, as I read the p ...more
David Przybylinski
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well I only took 2 days to read this book. I was interested to read wondering if it would be a story of Roberts life and struggled or a sappy biography about success of someone who ultimately took his own life.

It was all about his struggles and what he went through suffering from bad depression and really not being able to talk about it. He did finally start to come around and had a good support team but it wasn’t enough to get past the demons of depression.

Well worth the read about such a talen
André San Miguel
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mental health is an aspect that is often overlooked specially if you are considered successful in society's view.

"A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke" is a must read book even if you're not a football fan.

Robert Enke's life is very tragic, not just in the way it ends, but everything that led to the moment which he took own life.

I was a goalkeeper, like Robert Enke, for many years and although I was never a professional the amount of pressure that one must faces is over the top, one mom
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Ronald Reng is a German sports journalist and author. Of his books, two have been translated to English and both of them have been honored with book awards in the UK.

The Keeper of Dreams, the story of the German non-league goalkeeper Lars Leese who ended up playing for Barnsley Football Club in the Premier League, won the Sports Book of the Year Award in 2004. It was the first foreign book to ach

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