Joe Biden | Evan Osnos

Summary of: Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now
By: Evan Osnos


In Evan Osnos’s book ‘Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now’, he paints a vibrant picture of the US president, a man of contradictions who has overcome adversity and emerged as a decent and empathetic leader. The book summary takes us through Biden’s distressing childhood stutter, to his early political career and perseverance in the face of personal tragedies. We also witness his evolution on significant policy issues, his journey through the 2016 and 2020 elections, and the many relationships he has formed with allies and opponents alike over the years. Expect an exploration of the president’s character and the qualities that have led him to the highest office in the land.

Joe Biden: A Study in Contradictions

Evan Osnos, a National Book Award winner and New Yorker staff writer, presents Joe Biden as a resilient figure who embodies both admirable and flawed traits. Osnos describes Biden’s ability to persevere in the face of adversity as one of his most notable characteristics. Despite being a lifelong politician, Biden is both thin-skinned and empathetic while also prone to gaffes. However, Osnos ultimately portrays Biden as a thoroughly decent human being, despite his imperfections.

Biden’s Triumph Over Adversity

Joe Biden’s journey from ‘Joe Impedimenta’ to a fluent communicator is a testament to his willpower and determination. Despite enduring merciless taunts and constant embarrassment, Biden defeated his stutter by mentally rehearsing conversations before engaging with others. Osnos’s book explains how Biden’s experience of having a debilitating stutter left an indelible mark on him, and it echoes through to his present-day interactions. Biden is acutely sensitive to how others perceive him, but his unwavering determination has propelled him to overcome his impediments, making him a successful public speaker and now, President of The United States.

The Unconventional Journey of Joe Biden

Joe Biden’s unorthodox path to becoming a presidential nominee, including personal tragedy and perseverance, is highlighted in Evan Osnos’ book, with emphasis on his character. The book recounts Biden’s successful bid for the US Senate in his twenties and how he defied expectations by not graduating from an Ivy League university. Osnos also shares Biden’s extraordinary daily commute to put his sons to bed, which she uses to portray his exceptional dedication and empathy. The book gives insight into Biden’s character, which is authentic, committed, and selfless. Biden’s life story is a testament to what can be achieved through resilience and strength of character.

Biden’s Journey of Resilience and Growth

Joe Biden’s story of overcoming health issues, developing as a speaker, and evolving in his political stances is recounted in Evan Osnos’ biography of the current president. The book takes us through Biden’s experience with a brain aneurysm, which left him bedridden for months, but eventually led him back to the Senate. Osnos describes Biden as a dedicated speaker, who practiced tirelessly at night and improved over time. However, he also notes that Biden can be long-winded, something President Obama tried to control. The book portrays Biden as a centrist, but acknowledges his evolving positions on issues, including his shift away from supporting the Iraq War, the Defense of Marriage Act, and NAFTA. Osnos also details Biden’s regret over his handling of Anita Hill’s testimony during Judge Thomas’s confirmation hearing and his vote for the Iraq War. As Vice President, Biden struggled to believe his fortune, sometimes projecting a lack of confidence. His age and occasionally outdated views made some criticize him before the 2016 election. However, Osnos argues that throughout his career, Biden has shown a capacity for growth and change.

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