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Promises to Keep: On Life and Politicsby Joseph Biden
Synopses & Reviews
“Nearly forty years after I first got involved, I remain captivated by the possibilities of politics and public service. In fact, I believe that my chosen profession is a noble calling. Thats why I wanted to be a part of it.”
As a United States senator from Delaware since 1973, Joe Biden has been an intimate witness to the major events of the past four decades and a relentless actor in trying to shape recent American history. He has seen up close the tragic mistake of the Vietnam War, the Watergate and Iran-contra scandals, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, a presidential impeachment, a presidential resignation, and a presidential election decided by the Supreme Court. Hes observed Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and two Bushes wrestling with the presidency; hes traveled to war zones in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa and seen firsthand the devastation of genocide. He played a vital role by standing up to Ronald Reagans effort to seat Judge Robert Bork on the Supreme Court, fighting for legislation that protects women against domestic violence, and galvanizing Americas response (and the worlds) to Slobodan Milosevics genocidal march in the Balkans. In Promises to Keep, Biden reveals what these experiences taught him about himself, his colleagues, and the institutions of government.
With his customary candor, Biden movingly recounts growing up in a staunchly Catholic multigenerational household in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware; overcoming a demoralizing stutter; marriage, fatherhood, and the tragic death of his wife Neilia and infant daughter Naomi; remarriage and re-forming a family with his second wife, Jill; success and failure in the Senate and on the campaign trail; two life-threatening aneurysms; his relations with fellow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle; and his leadership of powerful Senate committees.
Through these and other recollections, Biden shows us how the guiding principles he learned early in life-the obligation to work to make peoples lives better, to honor family and faith, to get up and do the right thing no matter how hard youve been knocked down, to be honest and straightforward, and, above all, to keep your promises-are the foundations on which he has based his lifes work as husband, father, and public servant.
Promises to Keep is the story of a man who faced down personal challenges and tragedy to become one of our most effective leaders. It is also an intimate series of reflections from a public servant who refuses to be cynical about political leadership, and a testament to the promise of the United States.
"As a freshman in high school, Joe Biden confides in 'Promises to Keep,' he had a slight stutter. So the future Democratic senator from Delaware stood in front of a mirror at night practicing his oratory. Once, he even tried 'the old Demosthenes trick.' He put pebbles in his mouth, tried to speak loudly and nearly choked. Speechifying has always been Biden's passion, and his pitfall. His first presidential... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) bid imploded in 1987 when he adapted a speech by British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock to fit the details of his own life and neglected, on at least one occasion, to give Kinnock credit. It was in the afterglow of a successful speech on foreign policy in 1988 that he collapsed from a brain aneurysm. When his wife arrived at the hospital, he writes, a nurse told her not to enter the room because a priest was administering last rites. With such drama and trauma, even a self-justifying version of Biden's life makes for a lively read. " Reviewed by lan Cooperman, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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Democratic Senator Biden, one of the most recognizable figures in the U.S. government, presents an insiders look at life in the Senate, Washington politics, and American foreign policy.
About the Author
Joe Biden was first elected to the United States Senate in 1972 at the age of twenty-nine and is recognized as one of the nations most powerful and influential voices on foreign relations, terrorism, drug policy, and crime prevention. Senator Biden grew up in New Castle County, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware and the Syracuse University College of Law. Since 1991, Biden has been an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law, where he teaches a seminar on constitutional law. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware.
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