Promises to Keep | Joe Biden

Summary of: Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics
By: Joe Biden


Discover the inspiring journey of Joe Biden in ‘Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics’, as he navigates the complex world of American politics and his personal life. Through perseverance, determination, and grit, Biden tackles adversity from his childhood stutter to tragedies striking his family, all the while fighting for the causes close to his heart. Gain insights into Biden’s political philosophy born from his upbringing and experiences that have shaped his unique connection to the American people. Through this book, witness how Biden has fearlessly dealt with bullies, embraced love, and balanced his responsibilities both as a father and a political leader.

Biden’s Adversity-Fueled Leadership

Joe Biden’s childhood struggles with stuttering gave him the resilience and determination needed to become a successful political leader. Through persevering with public speaking practice, Biden gained a blueprint for overcoming adversity and a recognition for how important it is to stand up to bullies. Biden’s parents and faith equipped him with the responsibility to uplift the disenfranchised, which he has carried throughout his career as a public defender, senator, and in his run for presidency.

Biden’s Love Story

The book explores how Joe Biden’s love for Neilia Hunter gave him the courage to pursue his ambitions. Despite being a mediocre student in college, meeting Neilia diverted much of Biden’s attention and made him determined to succeed. With Neilia’s unerring confidence in him, he buckled down and did well enough in his last semesters to win a place at Syracuse University College of Law. She even helped him revise for his final exams before he landed a job at a prestigious law firm. Though Joe found himself wanting to serve the public, he started his career by being a lawyer.

Biden’s Journey from Law to Politics

Joe Biden’s early career in law shaped his commitment to protect vulnerable people, and his experiences representing disenfranchised workers and Black people inspired him to pursue a career in politics.

Joe Biden’s journey from law to politics was influenced by his experiences as a lawyer. His early career in law convinced him to use the law as a tool to protect vulnerable people after witnessing a trial where a company avoided paying compensation to a permanently disabled welder. Although his boss found a loophole in the law, Biden realized that just because the ruling was legal, it didn’t mean it was morally right.

In the 1960s, Wilmington was at the center of civil rights protests, and Biden became increasingly alarmed at the unequal treatment of Black people living in the city. He knew he could not defend disenfranchised workers or Black people working at his prestigious law firm. He quit his job and looked for opportunities to make a difference.

Biden joined the public defender’s office, where he represented people unable to pay for legal counsel, mainly Black people from the poor neighborhood of East Wilmington. He also joined a criminal defense firm and helped fight civil litigation suits for people in desperate circumstances.

Inspired to have a hand in creating laws and policies that could help more people, Biden pursued a career in politics. When he was invited to run for the county council in Delaware, he jumped at the opportunity and began his political journey to improve the lives of those who needed help the most.

Biden’s Fight for the Environment

Joe Biden’s foray into politics began with a bid for The New Castle County Council seat – a Republican-dominated enclave in Delaware. Unlikely to win, he still pursued the position backed by his sister Valerie and local Democrats. Biden ran on a platform of promoting a healthy environment for children to grow up in, which resonated well with voters from both sides of the political divide. Despite the Democratic Party’s statewide losses, he emerged victorious. Upon taking office, Biden stood up to powerful developers attempting to build mega highways and oil refineries on thousands of acres of sensitive coastal land. His willingness to take on such difficult fights quickly won him admirers across the state while also landing him in the crosshairs of those industries. With his fighting spirit and progressive policies, Biden became a rising star and the Democrat’s challenger to end a decades-long Republican stranglehold on one of Delaware’s Senate seats.

Biden: The Underdog Senator

At 29, Joe Biden ran for Senate against an incumbent Republican thirty years his senior. With no money and low poll numbers, the odds were against him. However, he relied on his family and community to make up for his lack of resources. Instead of chasing the media, he focused on small community events, engaging with voters in living rooms and high schools. Biden stood firm on his policy positions on civil rights, environmental protection, voting rights, healthcare, and ending the Vietnam War, projecting a strong message. Despite being behind in the polls, he won by 3,000 votes. Joe Biden’s message was that having enough youthful courage, even in seemingly impossible situations, can bring a desirable outcome.

Biden’s Tragic Turn

Joe Biden’s life took an unforeseen turn after a tragic car accident that claimed his wife and daughter’s life and left his sons hospitalized. Biden contemplated quitting the political world to tend to his family, but his colleagues’ support encouraged him to continue his pursuit of excellence in politics.

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