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Publisher's Summary

A Financial Times Best Book of 2020 

A concise, brilliant, and trenchant examination of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s successful lifelong quest for the presidency by National Book Award winner Evan Osnos.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has been called both the luckiest man and the unluckiest - fortunate to have sustained a 50-year political career that reached the White House, but also marked by deep personal losses and disappointments that he has suffered.

Yet even as Biden’s life has been shaped by drama, it has also been powered by a willingness, rare at the top ranks of politics, to confront his shortcomings, errors, and reversals of fortune. As he says, "Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable." His trials have forged in him a deep empathy for others in hardship - an essential quality as he leads America toward recovery and renewal.

Blending up-close journalism and broader context, Evan Osnos, who won the National Book Award in 2014, draws on nearly a decade of reporting for The New Yorker to capture the characters and meaning of 2020’s extraordinary presidential election. It is based on lengthy interviews with Biden and on revealing conversations with more than 100 others, including President Barack Obama, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and a range of activists, advisers, opponents, and Biden family members.

This portrayal illuminates Biden’s long and eventful career 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 faces as his presidency begins and weighs how a changing country, a deep well of experiences, and a rigorous approach to the issues, 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.

The audiobook includes Evan Osnos' conversation with David Remnick on The New Yorker Radio Hour.

©2020 Evan Osnos. Portions of this book originally appeared, in different form, in The New Yorker. (P)2020 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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What listeners say about Joe Biden

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Brief but to the point.

Glad to listen to this after the election. Provides much needed information I was discussing with my coworkers. Narration isn’t bad either. It doesn’t glorify him, it goes over his mistakes and humanize his errors as something any of us could of fumbled on with the passions of the times. It’s great to hear of his transformation too during this current state of politics. I’m a millennial war veteran and been working covid across the country. The book speaks well to me.

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  • JK
  • 10-11-20

Good Primer for Election

This was a great listen. Evan Osnos writes crisply and each chapter could have been a work in itself. Overall, the book seemed like it was stitched together quickly to be released in time for the election. For those who don't know anything about Biden, it is a great primer. For those who have followed politics, there are a couple of anecdotes that are interesting, but nothing more. Overall, it's fairly written, politically speaking that is. The audio was read by the author himself. The only complaint is the last chapter was an interview with the editor and a sort of repeated summary and interview source for the whole book.

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The President We Needed

A very concise look at #46. A look at the man and how his life shaped his future presidency. He truly is the president we need at this point in time. Luckily, 81 million people agree.

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Well worth the listen

On a road trip a few weeks before 2020 Election Day, I finished this in one day. It’s a concise and captivating look into a man who I hope will be the next president of the United States. It portrays Biden as both Democrat and democrat: A man who has represented the center of his political party for decades while also paying close attention to the wants, needs, and emotions of the electorate in both Delaware and the United States. As always with his work, Osnos writes in a way that is eloquent, substantive, and consistently captivating. Well worth the download.

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Excellent synopsis of Biden and his 2020 campaign

Well written. Short and to the point. Captured nearly all relevant areas. Excellent narration. Overall well done.

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Great listen

Really interesting to listen to knowing what has actually transpired over the last couple of months. Highly recommended.

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Beautiful story and great presentation

Interesting, light but informative and very helpful in understanding who Joe Biden really is. There are many questions that rise from this biography. Is Joe Biden extremely lucky or unlucky during the course of his life. Is he a shrewd political mind that at any point during his career masterfully positioned himself perfectly during critical junctures or does he always find himself in the right place in the right time. I think in many ways he is all of these things as the book describes elements in his character that attest to all of those elements

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solid profile of Joe Biden

Got the book to better understand Biden's background. I got what I was not disappointed.

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  • 11-28-20

Good book not really a biography

good book but not a ]biography. a glimpse of a very good person who may become a great leader

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feels very genuine

I think I know more now about President Elect Biden than I did throughout his campaigning. I feel like now we have the best person coming in to help our country unite and move forward. thank you for writing this!