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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.