A deeply moving memoir about the year that would forever change both a family and a country.
In November 2014, 13 members of the Biden family gathered on Nantucket for Thanksgiving, a tradition they had been celebrating for the past 40 years; it was the one constant in what had become a hectic, scrutinized, and overscheduled life. The Thanksgiving holiday was a much-needed respite, a time to connect, a time to reflect on what the year had brought and what the future might hold. But this year felt different from all those that had come before. Joe and Jill Biden's eldest son, Beau, had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor 15 months earlier, and his survival was uncertain. "Promise me, Dad," Beau had told his father. "Give me your word that no matter what happens, you're going to be all right." Joe Biden gave him his word.
Promise Me, Dad chronicles the year that followed, which would be the most momentous and challenging in Joe Biden's extraordinary life and career. Vice President Biden traveled more than a hundred thousand miles that year, across the world, dealing with crises in Ukraine, Central America, and Iraq. When a call came from New York, or Capitol Hill, or Kyiv, or Baghdad - "Joe, I need your help" - he responded. For 12 months, while Beau fought for and then lost his life, the vice president balanced the twin imperatives of living up to his responsibilities to his country and his responsibilities to his family. And never far away was the insistent and urgent question of whether he should seek the presidency in 2016. The year brought real triumph and accomplishment, and wrenching pain. But even in the worst times, Biden was able to lean on the strength of his long, deep bonds with his family, on his faith, and on his deepening friendship with the man in the Oval Office, Barack Obama.
Writing with poignancy and immediacy, Joe Biden allows listeners to feel the urgency of each moment, to experience the days when he felt unable to move forward as well as the days when he felt like he could not afford to stop. This is a book written not just by the vice president but by a father, grandfather, friend, and husband. Promise Me, Dad is a story of how family and friendships sustain us and how hope, purpose, and action can guide us through the pain of personal loss into the light of a new future.
Note: this Audible Exclusive includes a powerful interview – only available here – between Joe Biden and award-winning journalist, Mike Barnicle. Their discussion contextualizes the memoir’s wide-ranging themes, while also touching upon the presidential election, current events, and what it means to grapple with profound grief.
For a moment, let's put aside thoughts of party lines and petty bi-partisan politics; forget the knee-jerk associations and the endless deluge of headlines. If you're looking for venomous muckraking or a juicy tell-all, that's not this book. Instead, Promise Me, Dad offers something way more extraordinary: the rare political memoir that transcends its author and reveals something greater about humanity altogether. Yes, this is Joe Biden reflecting on his final year as vice president, but it's also about his son, Beau, and his bravery in the face of the unthinkable, and what it means to move forward and find purpose in the wake of profound loss. Listening to Biden read, I've never heard a public figure so open and candid and raw about their own grief. And in those most personal of moments - where you feel like you're right there with Joe - it's enough to make you tremble. But Biden's story is truly one that proves the indomitability of the human spirit and one that I couldn't help feel was particularly redemptive and unifying as an American at this time. -- Doug, Audible Editor
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- Dr P F Ridgway
Poignant, humanizing a politician