To Bobby Charlton, Bert Trautmann was "not just a goalkeeper but a god". But how did a German POW, survivor of the savage Russian front and former Hitler Youth, become the Manchester City favourite? His Cup Final heroics in 1956 – he played on with a broken neck – set the seal on a career of grace and courage saluted by fans and peers.
With only brief accounts of key matches, Catrine Clay's biography may disapppoint football nerds. But it scores well in explaining the inter-war German scene and the mass appeal of Nazism.
Clay applies no cosmetic brush to the past of an athlete who, for a while, conformed to his designated role as Aryan idol. His co-operation with this book lends poignancy to his unique passage through the showdowns of a century.