Cover Image: Joe Biden

Joe Biden

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Member Reviews

Very clear, straightforward biography. A full portrait of a remarkable politician whose tenacity led him to the Whitehouse. No big revelations - but that is perhaps more to do with the subject than the author.
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This was an enjoyable and easy read. Evan Osnos has written a brilliant book. I wouldn’t necessarily describe this book as a biography. Instead it was more of an introduction to Joe Biden and a great opportunity to learn a bit more about the incoming president. 

I didn’t know much about Biden prior to the US election and to be honest all I knew is that Obama loved him enough to have him as the VP and that was enough for me. Reading this book I now understand why he is the perfect incoming President. This book does not pander to Biden but instead presents him as a man who has encouraged and spearheaded positive change in his life despite personal battles.
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We've spent the last four years consumed and overwhelmed by the news out of America, and so the opportunity to learn a bit more about the incoming president beyond the memes and his time as VP is almost a reprieve from chaos.
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This was an enjoyable and easy read - it was less of a biography and more of a character study. As we read in the epilogue, this makes sense. It feels like a very, very 'long-read' that you might find in the New York Times or the Guardian, and I think that comes from the various articles written by the author - a journalist for the New Yorker - on Biden over the course of more than a decade.

It gives an overview of the man, and that's no small feat, considering the number of decades he's been in politics, the roles that he's had, and his comparatively large family. It gives an overview of the tragedies that have shaped him and gives a detailed insight into his striking habit of verbal gaffes. The majority of the text seemed to concentrate on three main themes - his place as VP to Obama ("the most maligned job in Washington"); his Foreign Policy roles; his role as an electoral candidate in the 2020 election; and how Biden perhaps sits uncomfortably in a Democratic Party that is now substantially different from the one he first joined many decades ago. 

The book is certainly sympathetic, but not hagiographic. It does not attempt to hide significant flaws, nor how some of his political decisions in previous decades now look rather uncomfortable from the present - but at the same time, I have never really considered how many great figures of American History have come from the Silent Generation, those born between the Depression and 1945, the predecessors of the now infamous Boomers. The text considers (largely from those who have observed and worked with Biden), how being marked by tragedy has shaped Biden so profoundly. The text spends a lot of time considering Biden's words - he's a man obviously known for his conversation and bonhomie, in a non-partisan manner that seems alien to our own time.

This is a short text, about 170 pages I think, and it lays a very good map for a multivolume study in the future. And I imagine it's not easy to write a text in the midst of an election, does one present him primarily as a former VP, or as a potential president?

I read the book in two sittings after his apparent (!) electoral success was announced, and it really did feel like a short collection of long-form journalism. I certainly enjoy that medium, but I think I would have been somewhat underwhelmed if I'd bought the text for the RRP £17. I would rather wait to commend a more substantial book to others.
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This book confirmed even further for me, not that much more confirmation was required, that Joe Biden was the right candidate for Presidential election 2020. His opposition couldn't hold a candle even close to him. He is intelligent, astute, stoic and hardworking. He is what a country need to succeed and repair itself after the disastrous and humiliating leadership of the previous four years. It was a really good read, delving deep into Biden's very core. I highly recommend it.
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Concise, honest, unbiased and very readable. A fascinating insight into the life of President Elect Biden and what makes him tick. Hopefully there will be an updated version before 2024 covering the Presidential years too!
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At the time of writing, Joe Biden is standing on the threshold of being declared the winner of the 2020 US presidential election.. This short book should provide the perfect opportunity to brush up on the man destined to be the 46th president of the USA.
Biden has had a long and successful career as senator and two terms as Barack Obama's vice president. Tragedy has been a recurrent feature of his life, His first wife and infant daughter ďied in a car accident. His son died of cancer in 2015 aged 46. Biden himself was almost felled by aneurysm soon after the failure of his 1987 electoral bid.
This is not a hàgiography. Biden's occasional lapses - his gaffes and occasional failure to support progressive causes - are not glossed over. But with American politics potentially entering a more compassionate and progressive phase after the unhappy turmoil of the previous four years, this offers a concise and readable insight into the màn poised to become the next leader of the western world.
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Please note: this review is of the book and not the man himself or his politics. With only a week to go until the US election, I felt I should learn a little more about Biden as a person as I realise I know almost nothing about an individual who could soon be president of one of the world's superpowers. In this concise yet informative portrayal Evan Osnos offers a nuanced, deeply-reported and three-dimensional portrait of Biden and illuminates his long and eventful fifty-year political career and his long presence in the Senate, his eight years as Obama’s vice president, his sojourn in the political wilderness after being passed over for Hillary Clinton in 2016, his decision to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency, and his choice of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.

Osnos ponders the difficulties Biden will face if elected and weighs how political circumstances, and changes in the candidate’s thinking, have altered his positions. In this nuanced portrait, Biden emerges as flawed, yet resolute, and tempered by the flame of tragedy—a man who just may be uncannily suited for his moment in history. Split into eight chapters, this is a short, balanced biography focused on Biden’s political escapades and trials and tribulations over the years rather than his personal life or his formative years. I learned a lot about his tenacity and triumphs over adversity as well as his stance on many things. This is a comprehensive and well-researched memoir and tends to remain objective throughout, which was a must for me.

In this penetrating and captivating portrait, Evan Osnos, who followed Joe Biden for years for The New Yorker, paints a razor-sharp picture of the man on whom all the hopes of progressive and liberal America are focused. He spoke at length with Biden himself and over a hundred others, from progressive activists, opponents, and family members to former President Obama. Adapted from Osnos’s in-depth New Yorker profiles of the Democratic presidential nominee, the book features revelatory conversations with President Barack Obama, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, John Kerry, Cory Booker, former advisors, Biden family members, and new reporting. A quick and interesting read. Many thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC.
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I have so much respect for Joe Biden as a human, politics aside he has been through so much personally and then to devote close to 5 decades to public service in my book makes him an incredible man. As this book shows he’s not perfect, show me a human who is but he had consistently picked himself up, dusted himself down and put his best foot forward- what more can you ask for from a man and a leader
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