Best Selling Books by Joe Posnanski

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Paterno

release date: Aug 06, 2013
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Paterno
A biography of the legendary college football coach, written with the cooperation of the subject and his family, traces his distinguished career over sixty-two football seasons and his enduring legacy.

The Good Stuff

release date: Jun 01, 2001
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The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini

release date: Oct 13, 2020
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The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini
Joe Posnanski enters the colorful world of Harry Houdini and his legions of devoted fans to explore the illusionist’s impact on global culture—and why his legacy endures to this day. Nearly a century after Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926, he feels as modern and alive as ever. The name Houdini still leaps to mind whenever we witness a daring escape. The baby who frees herself from her crib? Houdini. The dog who vanishes and reappears in the neighbor’s garden? Houdini. Every generation produces new disciples of the magician, from household names in magic like David Copperfield and David Blaine to countless other followers whose lives have been transformed by the power of Houdini. In rural Pennsylvania, a thirteen-year-old girl finds the courage to leave a violent home after learning that Houdini ran away to join the circus; she eventually becomes the first female magician to saw a man in half on television. In Australia, an eight-year-old boy with a learning impediment feels worthless until he sees an old poster of Houdini advertising “Nothing on earth can hold Houdini prisoner,” and begins his path to becoming that nation’s most popular magician. In California, an actor and Vietnam War veteran finds purpose in his life by uncovering the secrets of his hero. But the unique phenomenon of Houdini was always more than his death-defying stunts or his ability to escape handcuffs and straitjackets. It is also about the power of imagination and self-invention. His incredible transformation from Ehrich Weiss, humble Hungarian immigrant and rabbi’s son, into the self-named Harry Houdini has won him a slice of immortality. No one has withstood the test of time quite like Houdini. Fueled by Posnanski’s personal obsession with the magician—and magic itself—The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini is a poignant odyssey of discovery, blending biography, memoir, and first-person reporting to trace Houdini’s metamorphosis into an iconic figure who has inspired millions.

The Machine

release date: Sep 15, 2009
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The Machine
Award-winning sports columnist Joe Posnanski hits a grand slam with The Machine—a thrilling account of the magical 1975 season of the Cincinnati Reds, baseball’s legendary “Big Red Machine,” from spring training through the final game of the ’75 World Series. Featuring a Hall of Fame lineup of baseball superstars—including Johnny Bench, George Foster, Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, and “Charlie Hustle” Pete Rose himself—The Machine is a wild ride with one of the greatest baseball teams in the history of the American Pastime.

The Soul of Baseball

release date: Oct 13, 2009
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The Soul of Baseball
When legendary Negro League player Buck O'Neil asked Joe Posnanski how he fell in love with baseball, the renowned sports columnist was inspired by the question. He decided to spend the 2005 baseball season touring the country with the ninety-four-year-old O'Neil in hopes of rediscovering the love that first drew them to the game. The Soul of Baseball is as much the story of Buck O'Neil as it is the story of baseball. Driven by a relentless optimism and his two great passions—for America's pastime and for jazz, America's music—O'Neil played solely for love. In an era when greedy, steroid-enhanced athletes have come to characterize professional ball, Posnanski offers a salve for the damaged spirit: the uplifting life lessons of a truly extraordinary man who never missed an opportunity to enjoy and love life.

The Secret of Golf

release date: Jun 28, 2016
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The Secret of Golf
From “one of the best sportswriters in America” (The Washington Times)—the New York Times bestselling story of the friendship and rivalry between golf legends Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, whose sparring matches defined the sport for more than a decade. The first time they met, at an exhibition match in 1967, Tom Watson was a seventeen-year-old high school student and Jack Nicklaus, at twenty-seven, was already the greatest golfer in the world. Though they shared some similarities—they were both Midwestern boys who had learned how to play golf at their fathers’ country clubs—they differed in many ways. Nicklaus played a game of consummate control and precision. Watson hit the ball all over the place. Nicklaus lacked charm and theatrics, and he was thoroughly despised by most golf fans because he had displaced Arnold Palmer as king of the golf world. Watson was one of those Arnold Palmer fans. Yet over the next twenty years their seemingly divergent paths collided as they battled against each other again and again for a place at the top of the sport and drove each other to ever-soaring heights of accomplishment. Spanning from that first match through the “Duel in the Sun” at Turnberry in 1977 to Watson’s miraculous near-victory at Turnberry as he approached sixty, and informed by interviews with both players over many years, The Secret of Golf is Joe Posnanski’s intimate account of the most remarkable rivalry and (eventual) friendship in modern golf.

The Baseball 100

release date: Sep 28, 2021
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The Baseball 100
A magnum opus from acclaimed baseball writer Joe Posnanski, The Baseball 100 is an audacious, singular, and masterly book that took a lifetime to write. The entire story of baseball rings through a countdown of 100 greatest players in history, with a foreword by George Will and published in partnership with The Athletic. An instant classic of baseball literature and a must-read for any fan, The Baseball 100 is a one-of-a-kind work by award-winning sportswriter Joe Posnanski that tells the story of the game through the remarkable lives of its 100 greatest players. In the book’s foreword, Pulitzer Prize–​winning commentator George Will marvels, “Posnanski must already have lived more than two hundred years. How else could he have acquired such a stock of illuminating facts and entertaining stories about the rich history of this endlessly fascinating sport?” Baseball’s legends come alive in these pages, which are not merely rankings but vibrant profiles of the game’s all-time greats. Posnanski dives into the biographies of iconic Hall of Famers, stars of the Negro Leagues, forgotten heroes, talents of today, and more. He doesn’t just rely on records and statistics—he lovingly retraces players’ origins, illuminates their characters, and places their accomplishments in the context of baseball’s past and present. Just how good a pitcher is Clayton Kershaw in the twenty-first-century game relative to Greg Maddux dueling the juiced hitters of the nineties? How does the career and influence of Hank Aaron compare to Babe Ruth? Which player in the top ten most deserves to be resurrected from history? Engrossing, surprising, and heartfelt, The Baseball 100 is a magisterial tribute to the game of baseball and the stars who played it.
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