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From America’s premier sportswriter, the definitive, #1 New York Times bestselling biography of Joe Paterno.

Joe Posnanski’s biography of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno follows in the tradition of works by Richard Ben Cramer on Joe DiMaggio and David Maraniss on Vince Lombardi. Having gained unprecedented access to Paterno, as well as the coach’s personal notes and files, Posnanski spent the last two years of Paterno’s life covering the coach, on (and off) the field and through the scandal that ended Paterno’s legendary career.

Joe Posnanski, who in 2012 was named the Best Sportswriter in America by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, was with Paterno and his family as a horrific national scandal unfolded and Paterno was fired. Within three months, Paterno died of lung cancer, a tragic end to a life that was epic, influential, and operatic.

Paterno is the fullest description we will ever have of the man’s character and career. In this honest and surprising portrait, Joe Posnanski brings new insight and understanding to one of the most controversial figures in America.

Topics: American Football

Published: Simon & Schuster on Aug 21, 2012
ISBN: 9781451657517
List price: $11.99
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I ordered this book pre-publication after reading an essay by Posnanski about Joe Paterno in the Washington Post; I liked the way he wrote about the man and wanted to read the book. The book, Paterno, is as interesting as the essay; the book is an excellent biography of the man from his childhood through the Sandusky scandal until his death. Although Posnanski was given access to Paterno’s files and correspondence and spoke extensively with the Paterno family, he was given the freedom to write the book without interference. Joe just wanted him to “write the truth” (p. [379]) which Posnanski appears to have done extremely well. The book gives a well-balanced view of Paterno’s life. The tone of the book is set near the beginning: “This is the story of a man named Joe Paterno, who in his long life was called moral and immoral, decent and scheming, omniscient and a figurehead, hero and fraud, Saint Joe and the devil.” (p. [3]) Although Posnanski gives accounts of many sensitive things which Paterno did, he also exhibits how difficult Paterno was to live with – both for his family and his players. Practices were brutal. Of particular interest is the discussion of his relationship with Sandusky; although Sandusky played for Paterno and coached with him for many years, the men did not get along. Posnanski evaluates why Paterno was so unsuccessful beginning in the 2000s, and demonstrates how much less involved he was in many of the head coach’s responsibilities during that time. The author also discusses Paterno’s unwillingness to give up coaching even though many people, even his supporters, felt that he should have retired years before he was fired. Posnanski points out that evidence appears that Paterno knew more about the Sandusky situation than Paterno himself would admit. However, when the scandal broke in 2011, Paterno did not seem to understand what the implications would be for him; his family had to explain what was happening. A person does not need to be a football fan to find this book an interesting and valuable biography.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Hands done one of the best biographies I've read. Poz does a great job of capturing the true nuance of the man. It's a fair narrative he gives, not trying to whitwash the down side of Paterno or make him something more then he is. The stories are beautiful and heartbreaking. I strongly recommend this one.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.

Reviews

I ordered this book pre-publication after reading an essay by Posnanski about Joe Paterno in the Washington Post; I liked the way he wrote about the man and wanted to read the book. The book, Paterno, is as interesting as the essay; the book is an excellent biography of the man from his childhood through the Sandusky scandal until his death. Although Posnanski was given access to Paterno’s files and correspondence and spoke extensively with the Paterno family, he was given the freedom to write the book without interference. Joe just wanted him to “write the truth” (p. [379]) which Posnanski appears to have done extremely well. The book gives a well-balanced view of Paterno’s life. The tone of the book is set near the beginning: “This is the story of a man named Joe Paterno, who in his long life was called moral and immoral, decent and scheming, omniscient and a figurehead, hero and fraud, Saint Joe and the devil.” (p. [3]) Although Posnanski gives accounts of many sensitive things which Paterno did, he also exhibits how difficult Paterno was to live with – both for his family and his players. Practices were brutal. Of particular interest is the discussion of his relationship with Sandusky; although Sandusky played for Paterno and coached with him for many years, the men did not get along. Posnanski evaluates why Paterno was so unsuccessful beginning in the 2000s, and demonstrates how much less involved he was in many of the head coach’s responsibilities during that time. The author also discusses Paterno’s unwillingness to give up coaching even though many people, even his supporters, felt that he should have retired years before he was fired. Posnanski points out that evidence appears that Paterno knew more about the Sandusky situation than Paterno himself would admit. However, when the scandal broke in 2011, Paterno did not seem to understand what the implications would be for him; his family had to explain what was happening. A person does not need to be a football fan to find this book an interesting and valuable biography.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Hands done one of the best biographies I've read. Poz does a great job of capturing the true nuance of the man. It's a fair narrative he gives, not trying to whitwash the down side of Paterno or make him something more then he is. The stories are beautiful and heartbreaking. I strongly recommend this one.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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