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.
©2012 Joe Posnanski (P)2012 Simon & Schuster, Inc
I listen to three or four books a month, try to rate most of them but seldom write a review. This time I am obligated. Let's preface it all with stating I am a Penn State alumni. I bleed Blue & White. But it isn't because of a school known for football (and gymnastics and ice hockey and volleyball and wrestling), but, more importantly, because it is a great academic institution. Being Penn State proud I wanted to know the REAL, full story about JoePa. The author began and almost finished this biography before the Sandusky incident, but, as he explains, he could not write an honest biography without getting into all the circumstances surrounding that terrible issue. I am sure many of those who believed in Paterno will want to hear this story; but it is those who did not, or lost faith in this man, they need to hear the whole story. I will admit I cried more than once listening to how this coach dealt with many of the incidents of his life and his coaching career. This is a good book, a moving story, and an emotional ride.
And it would be remiss on my part to fail to mention the tremendous job Joe Montenga did in narrating this book. The texture of his voice, the empathy of his reading, was first rate.
Thank you Joe Posnanski for a most thorough story on the full life of Joe Paterno.
The way he approached coaching and developing young people into adults.
How Mr. Paterno did not follow his own teachings. It appears his dislike towards Sandusky clouded his understanding of the severity regarding the terrible acts.
The tragic ending of Joe Paterno's life. You get to see every facet of the man, his family, his friends, his enemies during those crucial last months.
He put his acting chops to work using emotion in his voice when the scene called for it. He also read Paterno's quotes with Paterno's voice. GREAT, GREAT performance!
Joe Paterno's emotional reaction, the day after his firing.
Finally, a presentation of Joe Paterno as a real person, not as some mythological hero or satanic supporter of a child molester. That seems to be all you read in the press or from social media. The Author is masterful in his ability to capture all the individuals and their frame of mind in context with the chronology of external events. How did he do that? Regardless of where you think you stand on the Penn State issue, this book is a MUST read!
A heartfelt thank you to the author. Now, as Paterno would have said himself, it really doesn't matter what the media or NCAA says, or how many statues they tear down, or how many records are re-written by NCAA in the hateful aftermath of Sandusky, the real record of who this man was is HERE! It makes me feel at peace, knowing that it has been written down.
FANTASTIC! His voice breaks at some points. It could be an act. But I don't think so. This book has some very emotional moments and Joe Mantegna does an excellent job of communicating that emotion - Bravo!
Wow! Many. But the Taliaferro section was especially moving. It really gets to the core of what Paterno was about. He personally took interest in his rehabilitation after the late 2000 injury. Interesting, too, that Paterno was concerned about this athlete during his recovery at just about the same time that Mcqueary was reporting the 2001 Sandusky abuse.
I wish we knew why it is so innate in human nature to tear down people who have simple and honest lives, like the Paternos. My Father admired Joe Paterno. But, not as a hero. Instead, just as a coach who maintained the standards of honesty, fair play, and hard work, similar to the same standards my Father grew up with, and helped him to survive WWII German pow camp. Now, seeing Joe Paterno treated the way he has been, really lowers my opinion of who we are, today. Granted the Sandusky abuses were horrific. But, we need to focus our punishment and vengeance more precisely, not causing so much collateral damage.
This was more of the same stories told over and over in the past.
Almost nothing new and nothing insightful.
Not particularly a fan of Joe Manteca, so the presentation was not pleasing to me.
I really enjoyed this story and the reading. I have to admit my bias as a lifelong Penn State and Joe Paterno fan. I thought this story gave a glimpse into the real Paterno. A couple of times the author stopped short with the statement that something was beyond the scope of his story. For example, the deliberations of the Board of Trustees at the end. I think it would have improved the book had the author taken on that challenge. Otherwise I have no complaints. Worth the time.
It was a very good book about Joe's life and not just the scandal at the end. It was obvious that the author liked Joe, but did show that Joe did make some mistakes with the scandal. I thought overall it was very even handed. Joe was not perfect, but he was also not a monster. If he had known the gravity of the events he would have done something. His mistakes were being too single-minded on football. That made him a great coach, but also allowed things to go on around him that never should have.
Yes I would and I would probably learn more..
His stories about his family
Paterno is really a good guy
You don’t have to be from Penn State or even be a football fan to enjoy this book.
I went into this hoping that it wouldn't be entirely about the scandal that was all over the news. This book covered the scandal, but I was very pleased to find that it covered much more. I wanted something that was fair and honest, and I think this book is exactly that.
This is definitely a well written and interesting biography and I feel as though the author did his best to remain neutral. This book will give you a better understanding of Paterno’s character, his legendary career, and the scandal that solidified his fall. The narrator did a great job with this book and I felt that he captured the emotions well without making it overly dramatic.
Everything Paterno did was meant to last forever and I really do believe that in time, people will see he tried to do the right things.
Overall, this is a great book. I highly recommend it for anyone that is looking for a moving, emotional, and real story.
For anyone who has followed -- even casually -- the Penn State debacle, this book is a must read.
There is something extraordinary about Posnanski's book. He captures far more than fact; he captures raw emotion. The final section covering Paterno's fall, informed by all that precedes it in this text, was so painful I had trouble listening to it.
If "tragedy" is "a serious play in which the chief character, by some peculiarity of psychology, passes through a series of misfortunes leading to a final, devastating catastrophe," then Paterno is a tragedy of the first order.
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