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Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  20,500 ratings  ·  2,371 reviews
The Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

From President-Elect Joe Biden, Promise Me Dad is his deeply moving memoir about the year that would forever change both a family and a country.

“Biden splices a heartbreaking story with an election story and a foreign affairs story. And in so doing, he offers something for everyone, no matter which strand draws you in.”—The New York
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published November 14th 2017 by Flatiron Books
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Carol I also think he is an honest and admirable man. an excellent book. Sorry he did not run.
Thomas It gets better. I usually give a book about a hundred pages, if it hasn’t grabbed me by then, I move on to something else. The family love around his …moreIt gets better. I usually give a book about a hundred pages, if it hasn’t grabbed me by then, I move on to something else. The family love around his son’s death is the best part, in my opinion.(less)

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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  20,500 ratings  ·  2,371 reviews

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Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-audio
4.5 stars!

“I try to be mindful, at all times, of what a difference a small human gesture can make to people in need. What does it really cost to take a moment to look someone in the eye, to give him a hug, to let her know, I get it. You’re not alone?”

Joe Biden is one of those people who have lived an incredible life. He’s done a lot in his lifetime, but he’s also lost a lot. Yet he still manages to be a fun and lovable guy who doesn’t lose his faith and looks on the bright-side.

Angela M
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks

I’ve always admired and respected Joe Biden. I’ve always connected with him - a good man, a regular Joe if you will, a man who has had his share of sorrow and yet managed to live a life of service as a senator for 36 years and then 8 years as Vice President. I’ve been wanting to read this, but so glad I chose to listen to the audiobook read by him. The love for his family is so beautifully depicted and his grief over losing his son Beau to brain cancer and all of his emotions are conveyed in his
Elyse  Walters
Reading this extraordinary memoir was so beautifully written- unsentimental-
but very sad - and searingly honest....I regret not having read it sooner.

The most poignant sections of this book for me were the family relationships and the intricacies of Beau’s disease, glioblastoma, ....the most aggressive cancer that begins in the brain.

“There was a new crises in Iraq that day, and it needed my attention. Although I knew it was my responsibility, I felt for the first time a sense of resentment t
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have decided to embark on a mission to read a number of books on subjects that will be of great importance to the upcoming 2020 US Presidential Election. Many of these will focus on actors intricately involved in the process, in hopes that I can understand them better and, perhaps, educate others with the power to cast a ballot. I am, as always, open to serious recommendations from anyone who has a book I might like to include in the process.

This is Book #34, a quick re-read, in my 2020 US El
“I need some distraction
Oh, beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins

“And maybe empty
Oh, and weightless, and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

”In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here”

-- Angel, lyrics by Sarah McLachlan

”Rules for Happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.” - Immanue
Justin Tate
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Always liked Joe, but hadn't paid much attention to him until this year. The man's a saint, with the kindest heart in politics. You can tell right away. The vast majority of this memoir is about family, friends, and other people. When he does talk about his own accomplishments, it's within the context of his son's fatal illness or how a stranger inspired him.

The events of the book are primarily about Beau's influence on Joe's life and some explanation why he decided not to run in the 2016 e
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
How do I convince Joe Biden to write an entire book about his friendship with Obama?

See my talk about this briefly in my April wrap up:
Montzalee Wittmann
Promise Me, Dad
A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose
By: Joe Biden
Narrated by: Joe Biden
This is a book I really liked and it moved me emotionally. I have to admit, I have always liked Joe Biden. He says what he thinks and to hell with it. He has a good moral background. America, family, and common sense are the key phrases I think of when I think of Joe. You may disagree but that's ok, read the book and write your own review. This is mine.
He is compassionate about a lot of things and none of them
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love Joe Biden.

In 2015 I donated money to a SuperPac that was trying to convince Joe to run for President. I truly believe that had he run he would have beat both Hillary and 45. Just think about how different our country would be right now. No Congressional investigations, no special prosecutor, and no indictments. Our country would still be respected among our allies. I was deeply disappointed when Joe decided not to run but I completely understood why.

He had just lost his oldest
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Disappointing. I hesitated to give this a 3 star rating, feeling it's more 2 - 2.5.

Let me preface my review by saying in no way does my opinion on this book reflect my political leanings. I happen to like Joe Biden. I thought he was a great VP. I have the utmost respect for him, for his longstanding career, and my heart goes out to him and his family over the loss of Beau, and previously, his first wife and daughter.

I hesitate to criticize a book being plugged as a book about the last year of
Greta G
“All is good”

Starting with the annual Biden Family Thanksgiving trip to Nantucket in 2014, fifteen months after his eldest son Beau was diagnosed with brain cancer (glioblastoma) of which he dies a year later, Joe Biden writes about the last year of his son’s struggle with this harrowing disease.

This introduction to the Biden family sets the tone of the book — everything is perfect — and after reading this chapter, you feel like you want to be a part of this family, of which the thirteen member
This is the inspiring story of how Joe Biden channels the grief over losing his son, Beau, into a successful campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Propelled by a promise he made to his late son to continue his path of public service, and boosted by his extraordinary accomplishments as vice-president, Biden outmaneuvered the massive political machine backing a well-financed Hillary Clinton to win the nomination and take on Donald Trump.

Except that's not what happened. But if you were an al
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading Joe Biden’s Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose I was reminded again how great it was to have Biden-as thoughtful, compassionate, and smart as anyone you are likely to meet --as our 45th President. I mean, wow, we really dodged a bullet there. Just think; the current President of the United States of America could be an outdated, narcissistic jackass who is more concerned with his social media accounts, lying about his weight, and the imminent threat of sharks than gov ...more
Sleepless Dreamer
Oct 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I didn't vote in these elections. 

I'm used to living in a country where voting takes 5 minutes and you don't have to do anything but show up. It felt impossible to figure out how the heck to vote from abroad (do Americans actually know their social security number? I have no idea where to even begin looking for it) when I don't have an American address (Do I vote in Wisconsin? In which county?? Who is even running in Wisconsin's state elections???) and then there's also a pandemic going on. I'm
Stephanie Anze
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Joe Biden was into his second term as vice-president of the United States when his son Beau was diagnosed with a brain tumor. As the Biden family was gathering together in Nantucket for Thanksgiving, it was to be their last with Beau but they did not know this yet. Amid national and international crises vice-president Biden was preoccupied and as the health of his son grew more uncertain, even more so. There was also the question as to wether he was going to run for president in 2016. Vice-presi ...more
Jennifer Blankfein
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was overwhelmed with emotion and shed tears all the way through Promise Me, Dad. In this memoir, Joe Biden tells us about his younger life, career, and political choices during his time serving as Vice President in the Obama administration along with some of the devastating personal challenges he endured. When he was a young politician, he lost his wife and baby daughter in an horrible accident and was left to raise his two young sons on his own. Fortunately, he met and married Jill who became ...more
The memoir by Joe Biden covers his last year as vice president and the tragedy of his son’s death His son, Beau, was the Attorney General of Delaware and was planning on running for governor of Delaware when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. This is not Joe Biden’s first family tragedy. When Joe was first elected Senator from Delaware, his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. His two sons, Beau age three and Hunter age two, were in the back seat. They were injured but survived the ...more
Kathy B.T.
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was deeply moved by this book and am so happy to know so much more of Joe Biden’s own history. A man of great honor!🇺🇸
Caidyn (he/him/his)
This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.

To me, this book was an explanation. Perhaps an apology, but mainly an explanation about why he chose not to run. And, I don't have much to say about this book. It's incredibly well-written and insanely moving. Between bouncing about domestic and foreign problems that came up during this period (2014-2016), it also covers his son's, Beau, battle with cancer that he eventually lost.

And, yes, I did cry. A few times. And teared up about every s
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography-memoir
An intense, moving memoir by a thoughtful, inspiring man.

I probably picked the wrong week to read it, given that Sen. John McCain died of the same brain cancer this week that killed Beau Biden. (Full disclosure: I lost my father to this same brain cancer in 1982. How I hate this disease!)

At times this book was hard to read, given all that the Biden family went through during Beau’s illness. Joe Biden’s devotion to his family is truly remarkable, as is his devotion to his job and country. His l
Connie G
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Former Vice President Joe Biden has written a touching memoir about the difficult decisions faced by his family during his second term of office. His oldest son, Beau, had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Beau, the Attorney General of Delaware, was only in his mid-40s when he faced a poor prognosis for the glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer. Biden writes about his close family rallying around Beau during his medical treatments.

Biden was a very involved Vice President who had previous
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can relate to this book, as my sister passed away from the same glio cancer that Beau had. I can definitely relate to Joe Biden's description of the feelings when they heard the dreaded glio diagnosis to some of the struggles that he went through watching this happen. One thing that struck me was that my sister died 10 years before, and yet, while there are new treatments available, the outcome is still the same and the prognosis is poor.

While I do not pretend to be able to understand the pres
Nov 26, 2017 marked it as to-read
I am not putting this down because it’s not a good book. I was and am interested in it. But I think I need to try later. My uncle passed away from the same type of cancer as Joe’s son. Around the same time too. It’s just a little much right now.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it

That aside --- I enjoyed this book, although he neatly and tidily left out what is going on with Beau's widow and his other son, Hunter. (he had time as he mentions at the end of the book that it is the summer of 2017 as he finishes said book --- given that he supports the relationship why leave it out....??)

FYI for those not in the know.

The widow of Joe Biden’s late son Beau Biden has started a romantic relationship with Beau’s brother Hunter Biden, the f
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, 2017
This was an emotional read. A personal look at love, family, loss and grief. I’ve always respected Joe Biden and his core beliefs. Losing a child, I don’t know of anything worse.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
Joe Biden is one of my favorite people in the world. Period. He is REAL and honest and CARES. I teared up anytime he wrote about his son’s last days or his late wife and daughter’s death. To have been through SO MUCH and still have strength of character and faith is so admirable to me. HE GIVES HIS PERSONAL CELL PHONE NUMBER to basically complete strangers who are grieving losses so they can call him whenever they need to talk! And people call him! I just. He is so great, and this book is such a ...more
Shannon (kitchandpages)
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really was curious about this book. It was so heartfelt and genuine. I definitely recommend!
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book. Although the focus is on the Biden family and how it reacted to the illness and death of Beau Biden, Vice President Biden tells the story in context of his public life as Vice President.
The Biden family's committment to excellence, the bedrock of faith they draw from, and their deeply committed love for each other is an inspirational read.
Biden talks about his accomplishments as Vice President, the relationship forged with President Obama, and his experience in inte
Kym Moore
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I have come to believe that the first duty of a public servant is to help bring people together, especially in a crisis, especially across difficult divides, to show respect for everybody at the table, and to help find a safe way forward." -Joe Biden

This is such a heartwarming story, more about Joe Biden the family man and comforter, than Joe Biden the politician. I heard someone who lost a child once say, "The death of a child is more painful than any other type of pain you can imagine. You al
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, memoir
Heartbreaking yet hopeful on multiple levels. The former Vice President is someone the public has come to know as a man of authenticity and conviction, both of which resonate throughout this book. It is a memoir of his last year in office that coincided with his son Beau's illness and eventual passing from an aggressive brain cancer. Biden talks openly of dealing with the deep sense of loss one experiences in the passing of a loved one. His first wife and daughter were killed in a traffic accide ...more
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Joe Biden represented Delaware for 36 years in the U.S. Senate before serving as 47th Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. As the Vice President, Joe Biden addressed important issues facing the nation and represented America abroad, traveling over 1.2 million miles to more than 50 countries. He convened sessions of the President’s Cabinet, led interagency efforts, and worked with ...more

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“So I try to be mindful, at all times, of what a difference a small human gesture can make to people in need. What does it really cost to take a moment to look someone in the eye, to give him a hug, to let her know, I get it. You’re not alone?” 39 likes
“Rules for Happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for. —Immanuel Kant” 28 likes
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