In the Lions’ Den


Past president of Penn State University, Graham Spanier, tells the inside story of the scandal that not only tested the institution of college football but the American justice system. In the Lions’ Den chronicles a criminal justice system run amok, political vindictiveness and retribution, moral panic, and the influence of a twisted media narrative.


In the Lions’ Den: The Penn State Scandal and a Rush to Judgment tells the true story of a scandal at Penn State University that unfairly resulted in the firing of the nation’s most successful and admired collegiate football coach and the respected president of the university. The book chronicles a criminal justice system run amok, political vindictiveness and retribution, moral panic, and the influence of a twisted media narrative. It is, in short, the anatomy of a smear, a memoir told by the university president who lost his job after an outstanding career in higher education. The story, which is so outlandish that it would be impossible to make up, involves villains and heroes, fear and bravery, the rehabilitative value of friends and family, and coping with adversity.

“For the Truth, how long do we have to wait? Pursuing the Truth is a rough road with many challenges but it needs to be done. Thank you Graham Spanier for having the courage and staying the course. Our wait for the Truth is finally over.”
Franco Harris, NFL Hall of Fame

“A decade ago, allegations of child sexual abuse against a former Penn State football coach were stoked and sometimes distorted by scrambling reports and politically ambitious prosecutors. Their story swept across the nation like a hurricane, engulfing a university president and others who became collateral damage. Now that former president makes the case for a more careful consideration.”
Jerry Kammer, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist

“The relentless pursuit of Graham Spanier represents a sad chapter in the history of the American justice system that tainted the reputations of investigators, prosecutors, judges and politicians. This book meticulously unmasks a decade-long, overzealous, misguided effort to shift blame from an accused predator to a renowned university president—because of who he was, not what he did.”
Honorable Timothy Lewis, former Federal Appellate Court Judge

“With disturbing and explicit detail, Spanier, an innocent victim of a public hysteria, writes about justice denied from accusation to trial to incarceration, with all its humiliations and degradation—but also provides an uplifting account of the humanity that surrounded him. He has brilliantly taken a grotesque miscarriage of justice and enlightened us all.”
Frank Phillips, Boston Globe

“This accounting of justice run amok and political vindictiveness, exacerbated by the twisted influence of media narrative, makes for compelling reading.”
Gay Talese, Norman Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism

“It is undeniable that this book raises real questions about our justice system.”
Edward Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania

“Graham Spanier’s harrowing and compelling account of our deeply broken legal system illuminates too many sad truths; that justice is neither swift nor impartial. The obvious abuse of power for political gain described in In the Lions’ Den is Kafkaesque and sadly, all too common. Deliberately and soberly, Spanier leads us through one of the most explosive scandals in recent history with his integrity intact.”
Valerie Plame, former covert CIA operations officer  

“In the Lion’s Den provides a devastatingly detailed account of a system of justice determined to find blame even where none existed. The book, a must read for understanding the depth to which justice can fall, is a powerful account of how a major university and prosecutors rushed to judgment. Dr. Spanier is the heart and soul of this story, but the reader also learns of the unfair treatment of legendary coach Joe Paterno and other administrators.”
John Kramer, Former Director of the United States Sentencing Commission

Graham Spanier served as president of The Pennsylvania State University from 1995 to 2011. His prior positions include chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oregon State University, and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He previously served Penn State from 1973 to 1982 as a member of the faculty and in three administrative positions in the College of Health and Human Development. He currently works as a consultant in national and international security, intelligence, and risk management.

Additional information

Weight 1.5 lbs











Gryphon Eagle Press


6 x 9

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