8th out of 13 books — 3 voters
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Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption
"When I got knocked down by guys bigger than me . . . [my mother] sent me back out and demanded that I bloody their nose so I could walk down the street the next day."—Joe BidenIn this, the first definitive biography of Vice President Joe Biden, renowned journalist Jules Witcover examines the fascinating life of a man who, with his tenacity, outspokenness, and charming sm ...more
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by William Morrow
(first published October 1st 2010)
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As a native of Delaware, I admire Joe Biden. He inspires me I'm proud to be from his state. This is especially because we went to the same grade school (St. Helena's) - a point the book finally confirmed after years of my hoping that it was true. The book has many other interesting details about Biden's life and career, including an exploration of the speech that led to his dropping out of the 1988 Democratic nomination process. Biden is a man who speaks bluntly and at length, and several exampl ...more
I like Joe Biden a lot, and wanted to read this bio. But it was so boring that it took me 3 weeks to finish it. There was too much of what I already know, and too many details of legislative policy. I thoroughly enjoyed his personal story and his handling of the Bork and Clarence Thomas hearings, but that was all.
A political puff piece on Vice_president Joe Biden as he readies himself for a run for the presidency in 2016. Plays up Biden's political nature [make deals to gain power and votes]. While a nominal Catholic he has endorsed attacks on religious beliefs with his support of abortion and same sex marriage. These issues are put forth in a manner that seems favorable to Biden. His attacks on the Bill of Rights are ignored and the accusations of plagiarism while in college are down played. The story o ...more
I’m giving this book an extra star due solely to its subject. I adore Joe Biden; unfortunately this book imperfectly captures the dynamic life referenced in the title. The facts are all there, but they are accompanied by minimal analysis of where they fit into the political and cultural landscape. Many chapters read like extended Wikipedia articles. The presentation is at times extremely clunky, and further suffers from the heavy-handed stitching together of material from other books. Neverthele ...more
The Atlantic profiled Joe Biden around the time I was reading this book. Mark Bowden's piece ("The Salesman"), struck me as ungenerous, and somewhat shallow. But it was an interesting contrast to Jules Whitcover's adulation. Joe Biden does seem to have had a very interesting life but this book was so eager to make a "great narrative" of the hero's ascent and struggle (or more precisely, his "trial and redemption") that it failed to fully humanize him.
This was a thoroughly--THOROUGHLY--researched biography. The author interviewed everybody--childhood friends, students who knew his first wife, members of the Biden family, and even President Obama. It's too bad that all this work resulted in something that is basically a rehash of Biden's own book, *Promises to Keep.*
Biden's story has elements of tragedy and comedy, farce and triumph. In many ways he's an anachronism. His brand of retail politics doesn't work as well in the twitter-verse. Still, he's an accomplished and extremely savvy politician who showed true leadership in the Senate for many years.