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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  667 ratings  ·  125 reviews
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 fie ...more
Published August 21st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Audio
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So, this book, about Paterno's life, had some difficulties. It was mostly written before the Sandusky scandal broke and i could tell that the writer had to go back over the narrative and give it a belated treatment in consideration of the scandal. as such, the first half of the book felt a little awkward. the biography went in chronological order, as expected, but the author would cut into the story with asides that referred to the recent scandal. the back and forth felt a little uncomfortable, ...more
I'm going to start this review with some stories.

1. When I was learning how to drive, we drove out to an area of the Penn State campus that is far away from everything, but in walking distance to Beaver Stadium. It was a Sunday in late spring and no one was around. I went around a corner and slammed on the brakes. I almost hit Joe Paterno, who was out for a walk. He shook his fist at me angrily. My husband rolled down his window and apologized, telling Joe I was just learning to drive, and Joe
Paterno by Joe Posnanski

“Paterno” is the fascinating story of Joe Paterno’s life. It’s the truth of his life. “The only thing he ever asked of me was to write the truth as I found it.” Mission accomplished, talented author and sports journalist Joe Posnanski, takes the reader on a life’s journey, the life of Joe Paterno. With unlimited access to Joe Paterno’s personal files, family, friends and former players, Posnanski weaves a captivating life that impacted many: his childhood, war, college li
Kyle Tait
All too often we are drawn in by mob mentality. We believe everything the national media tells us, and in today's viral society one media member's thoughts become the thoughts of ten media members, a situation that feeds and fuels itself until it grows into an uncontrollable and unfathomable monster greater than any one individual or group. We are infiltrated and consumed so deeply by the saturation of Twitter and television news that we entirely lose sight of the once clear line between our own ...more
Brian Katz
A great book. Starting with Joe in his early days in school, working up through the many years as coach at Penn State. It was great to re-live some of those years - I attended Penn State from 1979 to 1983, where the team was national champion - and to hear from those that knew him and that he coached. He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of others, with no hint of self recognition for his actions. He and his family gave millions to the University they loved in order to enhance their lives t ...more
I thought is was a very good book by someone who had amazing access to Joe and those who knew him best. I do believe firmly that this man who stood for integrity and academic scholarship coming before football did not know anymore than he said. I believe if the creep had been working for Joe, at the time of the incidents, he would have followed up more and I believe he regretted leaving that up to others. This man made millions at the end of his life but he walked away from countless more millio ...more
This book will not change your opinion on Paterno, so don't read it if you want to be swayed in either direction. The author pretty much states that: in one chapter, Joe goes to recruit a future Heisman trophy winner when he realizes the kid brother has leukemia. He abandons the football player and his parents; leaving his colleagues to do the recruiting. Instead, he spends the rest of the evening sitting with the brother. As the author states, "you can see the beauty or you can see the self-int ...more
Brenda Benedict
I read this book in an effort to understand how Joe Paterno could be such a polarizng figure. He was seen as a great coach and person by some and evil by others.

This book offered some insights into the man. But my questions weren't fully answered. The author paints the picture of Paterno's relationship with Sandusky as strained from the beginning. But some things didn't make sense. If he really disliked Sandusky, why did Paterno allow him on his staff for so many years? Why did he allow him such
Simply an amazing book. This is a must read that allows the reader to further understand how Joe Paterno worked, thought, and lived. His mind was always active, always thinking two steps ahead - "think about getting up on your way down". A concise view of a genuine human who was only ever really afraid of one thing. A human who never got along with someone that the general public had always thought were best friends. A human who put the lives, education, and futures of the players first -- he di ...more
Tracy Jenkins

I've been a fan of Penn State football since my birth in 1963. A pretty good time to follow a program and it's legendary coach. My parents both graduated from Penn State as did my grandmother, my aunt and uncle and other relatives. I never attended PSU, but have always felt like State College was a second home. Until now I'd never read a book about Paterno. I'd always had my own feelings about him based on his coaching techniques and his desire to focus on the larger parts of a student-athletes
Brian Prosser
Disclaimer: I've followed Penn State football and Joe Pa since I was a young boy...grew up listening to the games on the radio. Had read a few other books on Paterno, but wanted to read this book because 1) I think Posnanski is one of the best sports writers in the country, and 2) he was living at State College researching this book when Paterno was fired; he shared conversations with Paterno in those few months between his firing and death. For those looking for a research project which definit ...more
I don't read a lot of biographies, but this one was close to me. It may not be as compelling if you are just wanting to accept the current media interpretations (and I am including the Freeh report here because it is just a very skewed interpretation). This helped me to understand Joe Paterno much better than I had before. He was not a god, but a man that wanted to do his best for his university, his kids, and his family. He was not perfect and not a demon either. This book made me laugh and cry ...more
This is a fantastic biography of a great man who became incredibly controversial just before his death. I grew up watching PSU football and attended Penn State during the later years, the lowest years in terms of wins and losses for the football team, of JoePa's career. His story was headed for an ending in sainthood before becoming embroiled in controversy. The Sandusky scandal shook the school and the nation. What did Joe know and when did Joe know it? This book does not really shed light on t ...more
Read it and tell me Joe Paterno systematically contributed to help cover up a sexual predator's crimes. I dare you.
Vindication, when it comes, will come too late for Joe, but it will be all the sweeter because the media and the PSU BOT who railroaded him, Freeh and the NCAA will all get their due.

Excellent book, well written, well researched. I especially loved the players' vignettes of Joe, and what they've all taken away from their experiences with him.
Very boring book and Paterno was obviously a very boring person who cared only about his football team's success. The praises of his his former players were weak and seemed to be included just so something positive could be said. Paterno was a pathetic person who tried to act as though he did what he was supposed to. One statement I found especially ludicrous was when Paterno, a man with a college degree, had to ask what sodomy meant. It is reported to him that child molestation is occurring in ...more
Larry Beighey

This a great. Book ... He covers both sides of Paterno - Sandusky. I knew Joe Paterno on a personal basis. He was a great man! He didn't like Sandusky but Joepa never fired ant of his coaches he just "moved them out of his coaching staff. The freeze report is full of inconsistances and unsubstanciated statements
Wow tough one here. I'm an Ohio State Fan but with a huge respect for tradition and the "good" things Coach Paterno stood for. I loved it when Penn State entered the Big 10. & still look forward to playing Penn State every late October. Now to the book. There are just too many dots not connected by the author. You have to read in between the lines most of the time. Best example how the author states that Paterno's memory in some ways was remarkable. But then gives him a pass when Coach says ...more
Kerry Waller
Do yourself a favor and read as much Joe Posnanski as you can. He has a remarkable ability to focus on the important dynamics of whatever story he attempts and he is a master storyteller once he identifies these key dynamics. I am not a Penn State fan, and have no great loyalty towards (or hatred for) Joe Paterno. I read this book strictly because of its author and I was rewarded for it. Posnanski tells a difficult tale about the sad ending of a great man's life and manages to tell it fairly and ...more
Eleanor Cowan
Dedication, purposefulness, and single-mindedness are all admirable traits, but when these blurr important warning signs that should have been cared about, then, yes, most unfortunately, as the book explains, then greatness gets lost.

Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
I thought Joe Paterno was simple man with few complexities other than his ingenious ability to design and execute game plans. I was wrong. Joe Posnanski was given more than ample access, time and opportunity to explore Paterno's life from beginning to end with the support of his family; their only directive-- to reveal the truth as you find it. Posnanski does.
"Paterno" doesn't attempt to idolize, rewrite history or gloss over tragedy. The book is an historically accurate look at a man's life fil
I enjoyed this book because I was always a Joe Paterno fan. The book is not a literary masterpiece by any means but it was thorough retelling Paterno's professional career. I would have like to have heard more about his family life and how his kids handled being the child of a legend.

The crux of the book and narrative will continue to be the Sandusky response and whether he should have done more. As Paterno said, "in hindsight I wished I had done more." Is something we all say about any failure
I have no idea what this book's purpose is - particularly because I know that before the Sandusky scandal rocked Penn State, Posnanski was writing the book anyway. The author suggests that he was writing the book because he had reason to believe Paterno was going to retire at the end of the season, even before disaster struck. If he was writing a swan song book, he abandoned that mission, maybe because the scandal rendered it moot, and maybe because the last season of Joe Paterno's life just was ...more
Joe Posnanski did an excellent job of telling the Joe Paterno story. While the controversy continues to swirl around the Penn State pedophile scandal, it is critical to understand that the convicted criminal is Jerry Sandusky and not Joe Paterno. Clearly, Joe could have done more, he could have followed up, coulda, woulda, shouda.

But the real story here is the profile of the type of man we rarely see anymore in the public light. Classically educated, brilliant strategist and football coach and s
I enjoyed the writing in the bio of Joe Paterno. I enjoyed Joe Mantenga's performance of the book. I enjoyed hearing about the coach, and the qualities of another person who has striven for and come close to the goal of excellence.

As we all do, Paterno had inconsistencies in his life, but he generally stuck to some demanding and solid principles, some of which are:
Take care of the little things, big things take care of themselves.
One your way down, think about getting up.
You cannot be afraid to
Lauren Brown
First and foremost: I am a Penn Stater through and through. I bleed blue and white and have since the second I was born. The unfortunate scandal that tore down the reputation of Penn State happened my senior year at the University. It truly changed the atmosphere of "Happy Valley" in every way possible.

This book was a brilliantly told story of a remarkable man's life. Yes, Joe Paterno was (and always will be) remarkable. He was not perfect, and he never claimed to be, but he was honest and good
Seth Kolloen
I love Joe Posnanski's work, but this is the wrong book at the wrong time. He's a storyteller, not a biographer--he reflects his subjects rather than investigate them. Posnanski spends the last 1/4 of the book on the Sandusky scandal, mostly trying to minimize Paterno's role. He even claims that the story of Paterno's firing is "beyond the scope of the book," and he goes into zero detail about the scandal itself, except in how Paterno saw it. This isn't biography, it's a gracefully-written "as-t ...more
The whole Sandusky scandal seemed so utterly opposed to everything I understood Joe Pa to stand for, I couldn't understand it at all. I picked up this book because, according to the description, the author was with the Paterno family during the last few months of his life, including the whole mess. I wanted to understand his perspective.

So far, it's everything I wanted to hear, so much so that I'm having a hard time believing it. I do want Joe to really have been the hero I looked up to. The ne
I've always wanted to know more about JoePa's life obviously but more from a historical background. I didn't know who he was or what Penn State football was until I went there. I wanted to know about the history of the team and the greatness etc. But I never got around to actually buying a book on him. Now with the timing of this new book after the scandal, it seemed appropriate. But again, I didn't necessarily seek out to get this book. I happened to see it on the new shelf at the library and d ...more
Tyler Geist
In full disclosure, I must say that I am a Penn State fan and have met Joe Paterno twice. I wanted to read this book just to see what it "said" about Paterno. This book was begun before the Sandusky scandal occurred and was concluded after Joe passed away. There really isn't any Earth-shattering revelation by Joe Paterno regarding the scandal in this book. So don't read it if you're in the hunt for answers about the scandal. However, Joe Posnanski (the author) was with Joe during and after the s ...more
The book has been napalmed by critics determined to prove how outraged they are about the scandal that engulfed Paterno's final days. And to be honest, it feels a bit rushed. If Posnanski had been given the extra half year of work originally allocated, I think this would be a much better book. It's a bit sloppy in parts and needed a lot more interviews with Paterno critics but ran into the problem that very few of the people who knew him well had bad things to say about him and those who did wer ...more
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Joe Posnanski is sports columnist for The Kansas City Star and Sports Illustrated. He has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by The Associated Press Sports Editors.

He has written two books, “The Good Stuff,” a collection of columns, and “The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America,” which won the Casey Award as best baseball book of 2007. His work has been
More about Joe Posnanski...
The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America The Machine: A Hot Team, a Legendary Season, and a Heart-stopping World Series: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds The Good Stuff: Columns about the Magic of Sports The Soul of Baseball The Machine

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“You can’t be afraid to lose!” he shouted with a jolt of force, and he pointed at me. “You will not win all the time in life. Sometimes the other team’s gonna lick ya. But you have to believe you will win. You know who wins in this world? I don’t care if it’s football or politics or business. The bold people win. The audacious people. People who are afraid to lose, they beat themselves. They lose before they ever get started. They have their excuses before the game is even played.” 0 likes
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