Few athletes have captured the world's collective admiration and respect as Edson Arantes do Nascimento. Known affectionately to his family as Dico, but to the rest of us as Pele', his influence far exceeded his tremendous exploits on the soccer field. He is one of the most recognized people in the world.
This well-written, extremely detailed, and intriguing autobiography takes us deeply into Pele's world. He describes in great detail his impoverished youth in Bauru, his rapid ascent into the Brazilian National Team, his stellar years at Santos Football Club, and finally, his desire to bring soccer to the skeptical masses in North America. But throughout it all, we see his humility. "I only wanted to be as good as my father, Dodinho."
I had the opportunity to play soccer with a Brazilian who played with Pele' at Santos. My friend was very young at the time, and told me that Pele' treated him very well. "He was well-liked by everyone, and always helpful to his teammates. You never knew he was the best player in the world. He acted just like a regular guy."
Out of his many feats (playing in the World Cup final at the age of 17, the only three time winner of the World Cup, scoring almost 1300 goals), one stands out. Pele' is perhaps the only athlete to ever stop a war. During the Biafran Civil War in Nigeria, a three day truce was called to watch him play two exhibition games.
Pele' was declared a national treasure by his native Brazil. But for the millions of us who had the privilege to see him play, he was our treasure as well.
Thank you for the opportunity to review this excellent book.