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About the book
  • Published: 29 September 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446499023
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

A Life Too Short

The Tragedy of Robert Enke

The internationally bestselling biography of Robert Enke, the German goalkeeper who took his own life.



Why does an international footballer with the world at his feet decide to take his own life?

On 10 November 2009 the German national goalkeeper, Robert Enke, stepped in front of a passing train. He was thirty-two years old and a devoted husband and father.

Enke had played for a string of Europe's top clubs, including Barcelona and Jose Mourinho's Benfica and was destined to become his country's first choice in goal for years to come. But beneath the veneer of success, Enke battled with crippling depression.

Award-winning writer Ronald Reng pieces together the puzzle of his friend's life, shedding valuable light on the crushing pressures endured by professional sportsmen and on life at the top clubs. At its heart, Enke's tragedy is a universal story of a man struggling against his demons.

  • Pub date: 29 September 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446499023
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

About the Author

Ronald Reng

Ronald Reng has been based in London for the last five years as a freelance sports journalist. He has written about English football for, amongst others, the Suddeutsche Zeitung, and Zurich's Tagesanzeiger.

Also by Ronald Reng

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Praise for A Life Too Short

“An intensely moving book that transcends football”

Raphael Honigstein, Guardian

“Deeply affecting”

Ian Hawkey, Sunday Times

“A tragic book, but a brilliant one. Reng's is one of the best sports books to have been published in years”

Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

“This is a powerful book which transcends football.”

Sport Magazine

“Deeply affecting”

Matt Dickinson, The Times

“Moving...after reading it, I felt I not only understood depression a little better but also determined never again to believe the myth of the sporting superman, impervious to criticism or pressure”

Sarah Crompton, Daily Telegraph

“A Life Too Short is a sports biography about as much as BS Johnson's classic The Unfortunates is a sports novel. Both are books about grief. But football runs through the heart of Enke's story and this book belongs to the first rank of publications on the game of minds and souls that exists behind the beautiful game that is seen on the field. It is both a fitting tribute to a lost friend but it is also a salutary warning to the great football clubs of the world”

Keith Duggan, Irish Times

“Enlightening and visceral...An indispensable insight into a man and an illness, Reng's book is a sobering yet brilliant account and may yet restore faith for the disenchanted man in the street”

Sabotage Times

“Enke had often talked to his friend Reng, a journalist-cum-novelist, about writing a book together. Now Reng has done it alone, beautifully...this is the mature work of a writer who has gone far beyond sensationalism. It allows you to turn back and read football differently”

New Statesman

“It should be on every British football fan's reading list”

Ben East, Metro


Chris Maume, Independent

“This isn't really a sports book; its story is universal”

Chris Maume

“In a sport that often dismisses depression, this tragic yet sensitively written book might just help sufferers find sympathy”

Four Four Two

“A salutary read that puts the tantrums of Premier League millionaires into perspective”

Belfast Telegraph

“This biography...skewers the pressurised existence of the lionised sporting professional”



Claire Allfree, Metro

“Absolutely superb. Incredibly harrowing.”

Sunday Times


Claire Allfree, Metro

“Moving…beautifully written”

Glenn Moore, Independent

“The right choice to be named book of the year…raises the bar.”


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