Paterno by Joe Posnanski


13 Critic Reviews

The most interesting thing about "Paterno" may be that, even leaving the scandal aside, the coach comes across as a self-mythologizing monster, consumed by his legacy of winning on the football field.
-WSJ online


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.

About Joe Posnanski

See more books from this Author
A senior writer at Sports Illustrated, Joe Posnanski has twice been named the Best Sports Columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work at the Kansas City Star. He is the author of The Good Stuff and The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America, which won the prestigious Casey Award for best baseball book of 2007. His work has also been anthologized in Best American Sports Writing, and he lives with his family in Kansas City, Missouri.
Published August 21, 2012 by Simon & Schuster. 433 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Sep 09 2012
Weeks as Bestseller
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Paterno
All: 13 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 7

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Aug 20 2012

“Paterno” doesn’t shy away from whatever truth is behind any of this stuff.

Read Full Review of Paterno | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Tim Marchman on Aug 20 2012

The most interesting thing about "Paterno" may be that, even leaving the scandal aside, the coach comes across as a self-mythologizing monster, consumed by his legacy of winning on the football field.

Read Full Review of Paterno | See more reviews from WSJ online

The Boston Globe

Reviewed by Bill Littlefield on Sep 11 2012

The book includes half a century’s worth of football stories and presents tales of generations of once-young men who see Paterno, who died this past January, as a welcome and powerful force for good in their lives.

Read Full Review of Paterno


Reviewed by Stefan Fatsis on Aug 24 2012

Paterno fails not because Joe Posnanski can’t report or write, but because it tries too hard to accomplish something that might be accomplished only over decades, if ever.

Read Full Review of Paterno

Chicago Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Sebastian Stockman on Aug 31 2012

Posnanski's "Paterno,"... has complicated the issues of the Penn State story, re-enraged me and left me with at least as many questions as before.

Read Full Review of Paterno


Below average
Reviewed by Paul Campos on Aug 23 2012

“Paterno” is a disgraceful book and a minor literary crime.

Read Full Review of Paterno

The New Republic

Reviewed by Simon Van Zuylen-Wood on Nov 08 2012

If you want a nostalgia-trip, if you are looking for the good old days, Paterno does not disappoint.

Read Full Review of Paterno

St. Louis Today

Below average
Reviewed by Allen Barra on Sep 07 2012

As a biography, “Paterno” is spotty. ...About two-thirds of the way through “Paterno,” the Jerry Sandusky scandal enters Paterno’s story and then becomes the story.

Read Full Review of Paterno

Entertainment Weekly

Below average
Reviewed by Chris Nashawaty on Aug 20 2012

The closest the author comes to shedding new light on the matter is in his description of the tense relationship that existed between Paterno and Sandusky years before the scandal broke.

Read Full Review of Paterno

The Morning Call

Reviewed by Mark Wogenrich on Aug 21 2012

As large as his story is, Posnanski does not conjure the satisfying operatic finale. For that he deserves credit. The world is complicated and ambiguous. So was Joe Paterno.

Read Full Review of Paterno

Fox Sports

Below average
Reviewed by Jason Whitlock on Sep 06 2012

One thing is obvious after reading “Paterno,”...The biographer doesn’t know his subject.

Read Full Review of Paterno

Sports Book Review Center

Reviewed by Budd Bailey on Sep 18 2012

Joe Posnanski is an excellent writer, but he gives the impression that he couldn't quite put all the pieces together of what was supposed to be the definitive Paterno biography because of the "troubles." Still worth reading, though.

Read Full Review of Paterno

Centre Daily Times

Below average
Reviewed by Guy Cipriano on Aug 22 2012

After having one of the best seats in State College, Posnanski, under normal circumstances a terrific writer, struggled handling a nasty breaking ball.

Read Full Review of Paterno

Reader Rating for Paterno

An aggregated and normalized score based on 532 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review