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Editor reviews

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

Summary

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.

©2017 CelticCapri Corp (P)2017 Audible Originals, LLC.

Critic reviews

"This audiobook is a listening experience in which the author/narrator opens his heart. Vice President Joe Biden, a practiced orator, delivers his memoir with empathy, passion, and the occasional smattering of regret." (AudioFile)

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What listeners say about Promise Me, Dad

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great story , well told

beautiful story , would have been a great president !well done Mr Biden . should be President

8 people found this helpful

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Poignant, humanizing a politician

Listening to Joe Biden's frank and open memoir dealing with his son's cancer and bereavement is heartfelt, especially as it is read by himself.

Unlike most books by politicians, "Promise Me, Dad" is committed to communicating to us the values and principles of a family man who happens to have been a senior member of government.

His most compelling narration comes in the form of him discussing his hopes, fears, dreams and nightmares through which a family succumbs while dealing with cancer. I became emotional listening to him break down while discussing the death of his son - his voice audibly trembles which is why the audiobook gives a whole new depth to the biography.

Warm, insightful and thought-provoking.

7 people found this helpful

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Honest

Despite the tragic central story, Mr Biden has produced an endearing open account of his last year in office. He expertly steers away from the usual hubris associated with such books. I found it to be a compelling heartfelt expose of balancing the family unit in the face of demands of national and international duty.

The conversational writing style suited the subject matter well. In his personal retelling, his Irish core (and lilt) shines through. Well worth a listen.

4 people found this helpful

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Thank God for President Joe Biden!

Seeing the devastation wrought in America and the world by the monstrosity who's literally occupied the White House for the last 4 years, l purchased this beautiful book by Joe Biden to lift my spirits: a hope that decency, humility, kindness and honesty could begin to erase the hatred of the Trump cult. This gorgeously written and narrated book by President Biden himself will lift your spirits in so many ways. A devastating story of loss which is written with such eloquence and love with an incredibly rich seam of hope permeating every thought and word. Joe Biden is a man for all seasons. If allowed, he can bring about much needed changes to our world beginning with an acknowledgment of science, common humanity and a desire to safe the planet from its greatest threat - humanity or those of us, at least, who remain stuck in the conspiratorial Dark Ages. Thank you Mr President Joe Biden for an utterly uplifting experience.

1 person found this helpful

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  • HB
  • 10-11-20

Great book, great leader!

Really gave me a feel for the man. Delighted that the USA now has a leader with integrity and character for the next four years! England applauds the choice made by Americans in 2020.

1 person found this helpful

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Words do not do it justice

Hugely powerful, moving and honest book that is truly humbling to be able to listen to

1 person found this helpful

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Man up

Loads of life lessons, inner most feelings and thoughts are revealed, explored and explained. A rough road but love prevailed.

1 person found this helpful

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Wow!

Had this recommended by a friend and was not disappointed. With Joe narrating it himself you can really feel the emotion behind his words. Not always an easy listen, but a fantastic book.

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Wow.

I feel like I've loved and lost him too. Incredibly moving story with tears involved!

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Amazing, undroppable book from an amazing man

An amazing, wonderful, fantastically written and narrated book. Biden’s book describes an extraordinary life and career of a great man, a year of unbelievable emotional turmoil and work overload, when the vice-president was trying to balance his responsibilities to his family and his country. It is wonderful to hear him read his honest and full of details book, especially about his long strong bond with his family, his faith and friendship with Barack Obama. He shares the heart breaking story of the deaths of his first wife and baby daughter in a car accident and, later, his son, Beau, fights an aggressive form of brain cancer, which brought tears to my eyes many time while listening him read. How he had to deal with his frequent visits to the hospital to comfort his son Beau - and then mourn him - while at the same time dealing with foreign affairs of crisis in Central America, Iraq and Ukraine and also addressing the urgent question of whether he should seek the presidency in 2016. The book is an excellent political memoir with many interesting accounts on his foreign trips and especially the one in Rusia where Biden says to Putin ''Mr Prime Minister, I'm looking into your eyes, and I don't think you have a soul'' and then Putin said ''We understand each other''. Reading this book reminded me the incredible contribution which I already knew, that Joe Biden has given to the american people and to many countries around the world, especially for Kosova and the albanians. His work ethics and morals in politics stand as a model and sets the bar very high for the future governments all around the world. We are forever grateful to him and his family - in particular his son Beau who served in Kosova, therefore wish him a healthy long life as a president of USA.

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  • Jean
  • 02-12-17

A Sad Memoir

The memoir by Joe Biden covers his last year as vice president and the tragedy of his son’s death His son, Beau, was the Attorney General of Delaware and was planning on running for governor of Delaware when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. This is not Joe Biden’s first family tragedy. When Joe was first elected Senator from Delaware, his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. His two sons, Beau age three and Hunter age two, were in the back seat. They were injured but survived the crash. Biden provided a good overview of the ongoing research of glioblastoma brain cancer.

The book is well written, but I found it to be an emotional book to read. I wished there had been more about Beau’s family particularly his wife, Hallie. Biden spoke of his grandchild but little was mentioned about Hallie. But I understand how difficult it must have been for Biden to write. Biden provided an overview of his last year as vice president along with some insights about people he worked with.

The book is almost eight hours long. Joe Biden narrated the book.

82 people found this helpful

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  • Mary Lou
  • 01-12-17

family and public life

Loved it. Joe Biden writes about love and balance of family and public life. Then adds grieving and huge political decisions. I like when author reads their story.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Alec Drumm
  • 05-12-17

Grief and purpose

Everyone knows Joe Biden but may not know the hard times he went through before and during the recent presidential election. Mr. Biden explains his grief over the loss of his eldest son to cancer and why he decided not to seek the candidacy for the presidential election. It's clear that he is a thoroughly decent, thoughtful, purposeful, and selfless politician. The book is quite emotional at times and Mr. Biden describes his personal feelings at length.

It's clear that a Biden-Trump matchup would have been very difficult for him given the circumstances and he would probably not have prevailed, just like Hillary.

A great bonus is a half hour interview with Mr. Biden at the end of the book.

The former vice president is a very good reader of his own book.

32 people found this helpful

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  • DFW
  • 21-11-17

A Beautiful Tribute to Beau Biden

This was one of the saddest books I've ever heard. It does shed light on why he didn't run for president. I'm amazed that this man can get up every morning and continue to accomplish anything. Beau was a hero in more ways than one and this is a beautiful tribute to one who died too young.

60 people found this helpful

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  • Robert Sensini
  • 15-11-18

The last Human Politician

People write book to spread an idea, be famous, or make money. Joe Biden wrote this book because he just felt and meant every word and wanted to share it. At least this how I felt while I am listening to the book. BTW if you want to read the book that's fine but if you listen to it, it is way better. You can feel the sincerity of the vice president. In one part of the chapter he met the father of the slain cop in Brooklyn after his son died. My eyes came to tears while he is describing this encounter. His own eyes came to tears while he is reading it and you can feel it. I cannot describe the mixture feelings I had while I am listening to this part. Joe simply showed that we all human after all. We might live differently but at the end whether you are the vice president or a simple immigrant we will feel happiness and pain the same way, and the best treats to go through this life are humility and compassion and Joe Biden has a lot of that. #RunForPresident #TrueHuman #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kent
  • 11-07-20

Boring

Just couldn’t get past chapter two, I tried, the story felt fake. Something wrong with this man. I will leave it at that.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Pam M
  • 01-12-17

Beautiful Story

What a gracious and humble man. This story is told with great humility by Mr. Biden. I would recommend to everyone. It gave such insight to the Biden clan as well as the true friendship between the President and Vice President.

15 people found this helpful

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  • dupuytren
  • 16-11-17

Deeply touching, heart-wrenching memoir of loss

Finding hope after a disaster? Bearing in mind that theoretically the worst thing one should ever experience in this insignificant life is probably the loss of a child. Parents assume that they are the ones that should be those to go first, to afterlife or whatever its equivalent is for an individual. When children are poised to outpace their elders, as if it was a race between them, it is impossible to reconcile with the natural order, belief in a benevolent creator, or even karma. The former vice president deeply touched my heart and i felt his grief, his perhaps righteous indignation and his reckoning in this audiobook. I also came to know a much different side od a formidable public person, a national and later-to-become a historic man. I always held Joe Biden in such high esteem, noy for his personality, his integrity, the fact that there is significant overlap in our thoughts about what a government should and should not be doing, and so much more. I now also know how profound his human side is, it was probably very difficult to pen this book for him, but not only for his words, but also his sincerity and excellent narration skills and soothing, deep and meaningful voice, his book is an impressive listen. I won't say fun, because it is not supposed to be, but enlightening and one that leaves you with so much to think about...

26 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 29-11-17

Outstanding

I have never left a review but this book is worth it. Such a moving , encouraging story. I feel blessed to have listened to it and grateful for His services. You will not be disappointed.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-11-17

Personal and historical, not too long

This was a great book. I really appreciated how personal he allowed it to be. The timeline of events really made me better understand why he chose not to run for president.

13 people found this helpful