- Hardcover: 544 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow (October 5, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061791989
- ASIN: B0058M5JHO
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,501,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 5, 2010
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After a meteoric start in politics in 1972, as one of the youngest elected senators in U.S. history, Biden survived personal tragedy (the death of his wife and daughter and, later, life-threatening brain aneurysms) to carve a career as the liberal senator from Delaware. His promising bid for the Democratic presidential candidacy in 1988 ended ignominiously with charges of plagiarism, and Biden settled into the Senate and a distinguished career in judiciary matters and foreign relations. Known for his charm, ambition, and occasional verbal gaffes, Biden attempted a comeback in the 2008 election but pulled back after defeat in Iowa. Instead, Biden’s ambitions ended in selection as Barack Obama’s running mate and vice president. Journalist Witcover draws on in-depth research and interviews for a portrait of Biden from his working-class youth in Scranton, Pennsylvania, through the ups and downs of his personal and political life, to the office that is a heartbeat from the president but not always politically respected. He explores the events that shaped Biden’s life and his prospects in an administration challenged on every front. --Vanessa Bush
About the Author
Jules Witcover is one of the most distinguished and recognized of the veteran Washington correspondents. A former political columnist for the Baltimore Sun, he is the author of numerous books, including 85 Days: The Last Campaign of Robert Kennedy, Very Strange Bedfellows: The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, The Party of the People: A History of the Democrats, and The Year the Dream Died: Revisiting 1968 in America.
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It starts out with his childhood first in Scranton, Pennsylvania and later when his family moves to Wilmington, Delaware. During his time there, Biden became interested in politics and dreamed of one day being able to serve in the United States Senate. He went to law school and became a lawyer working to help minorities in Delaware. He still wanted to serve in the Senate, but was convinced that he needed more name recognition. So he got elected to the New Castle County Council and served there for almost two years before seeking election to the Senate.
During the campaign, he faced veteran Delaware politician Cale Boggs. A man considered by some to be unbeatable. But Biden, against all odds managed to beat him. He was only twenty-nine years-old at the time, and only reached the constitutional age of thirty weeks later. However, tragedy would strike Biden when both his wife and his daughter were killed in an automobile accident the next month after the election. Biden considered giving up his Senate seat, but was convinced otherwise by Mike Mansfield. He was sworn-in at the bedside of his sons, injured in the accident, in the hospital becoming one of the youngest senators in U.S. history.
Biden would go on to serve about thirty-six years in Senate. Most of the book covers his time there. He served on the important Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees. Much attention is given to the nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Biden was against both nominations and was successful in having Bork rejected. He also tackled other issues such as protecting women against violence.
In 1987, Biden decided to run for president in next year's election. Unfortunately, his campaign was barely off the ground when he made a speech with quotations and forgot to give credit. He was widely accused of plagiarism and ended his bid shortly afterward.
He stayed in the Senate. Biden was against the proposed Iraq War in the early 2000s. Despite this, he decided to vote in favor of the resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq. It was a decision Biden would come to regret.
In 2007, he launched another bid for the White House. This time he was careful to avoid mistakes he made the last time. He was viewed as knowledgeable, if long-winded, during the debates. Despite this, he was behind the much more popular candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He barely polled at all. He decided to drop his bid after a terrible showing at the Iowa Caucus.
However, after it was clear that Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination, he approached Biden with the offer to be his running mate. Biden accepted. He ended up staying rather low-profile during the campaign. He was overshadowed by the Republican vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, plus the Obama campaign was afraid of Joe just being Joe might lead to some bad gaffes.
The Obama-Biden ticket would go on to win the 2008 election. Biden was sworn-in as vice president in January. During his vice presidency, he sought to be involved in the administration as an important advisor, but not to create an overly-powerful (as he saw it) vice presidency like his predecessor, Dick Cheney.
Overall I found this to be a good biography of Joe Biden. A good explanation of the major events in his life. There is nothing too detailed, but I felt I learned a lot about the man currently serving as Vice President of the United States. I would recommend this to people interested in learning about Joe Biden.
My wife and I have just finished reading the book--JOE BIDEN, by Jules Witcover. To call this biography of the Vice President, fascinating, would be an understatement. It is much more than that.
It kept us both, in turn, glued to the pages, as each facet in the life of this likable, yet complex, individual unfolds. From growing up as an average American boy to being elected as the youngest United States Senator where he had an outstanding career, earning the respect of colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
Witcover tells this story in an easy readable style, leaving out none of the details. The ups and downs of a life--the tragedies, the successes, the happy times, the challenges during a forty year career as a public figure. It is the first authentic look we get of Joe Biden and his family. Page after page he becomes real to us and through the pen of an experienced and talented journalist, the rumors and myths are
brushed aside until we see the complete picture of a truly remarkable man.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the inside story of why and how dedicated and honest plain people accomplish great deeds within the Washington of today.