How well has the recently released Joe Paterno biography done on the book market?
“Paterno” by Joe Posnanski, is gathering steam and reportedly assumes the No. 1 spot on The New York Times hardcover, nonfiction bestseller list. When Posnanski, an award-winning sportswriter, originally was contracted to write the authorized biography, it was before the Sandusky scandal broke. So in mid-stream, he found he had to write not just a salutary story but a sports tragedy as well. The difficulty may partly account for the mixed reviews and lukewarm sales. In retrospect, one of the more bittersweet anecdotes from the book is about how Paterno turned down a million-dollar offer to coach the lackluster New England Patriots in 1972. He previously had turned down overtures from the Steelers and Packers, but this was the richest package ever offered an NFL coach, including a 5 percent share of the team. He accepted the offer, but before a press conference could be held, Paterno’s then-6-year-old son David told his dad, “Don’t go.” And Paterno didn’t, changing his mind in a last-minute reversal that won him the sort of national admiration that slipped through his fingers suddenly at the end of his life. As the Associated Press described his decision to stay as a college coach: “In the long run, it came down to lots of money vs. lots of idealism, and for a change idealism won.”