Joe Posnanskis 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 coachs personal notes and files, Posnanski spent the last two years of Paternos life covering the coach, on (and off) the field and through the scandal that ended Paternos legendary career.Read more...
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Joe Posnanskis 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 coachs personal notes and files, Posnanski spent the last two years of Paternos life covering the coach, on (and off) the field and through the scandal that ended Paternos 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 mans 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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-09-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Between bouts of coughing and wheezing, the late Joe Paterno told Sports Illustrated senior writer Posnanski (The Soul of Baseball), "You picked a hell of a time to write about a football coach." Indeed, the author had relocated to State College, Penn., in 2011 and was given prime access to write what was intended to be the definitive biography of this driven man. But by year's end, JoePa's legacy was overshadowed by a horrific child sexual abuse scandal involving former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky—a man Paterno never liked. The head coach was subsequently fired, and died a few months later. But Posnanski doesn't dwell on that last tumultuous year—he gives the man's life its full due: Paterno served in the Army, played football at Brown University, was named Penn State's head coach in 1966 (a deal sealed with a handshake), and went on to become one of the all-time winningest football coaches. He was praised by the press, became a fundraising dynamo, and made sure his players received a good education—for Paterno, college football was about "Teaching young men how to live." After the scandal broke and shortly before he died, Paterno implored Posnanski— an accomplished writer with an unenviable task—to "write the truth." The author's straightforward treatment of the case might be the focus for contemporary readers, but his fair assessment of Paterno's life and illustrious career will stand the test of time. Photos. (Aug.)