Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

A deeply moving memoir about the year that would forever change both a family and a country.In November 2014, thirteen members of the Biden family gathered on Nantucket for Thanksgiving, a tradition they had been celebrating for the past forty years; it was the one constant in what had become a hectic, scrutinized, and overscheduled life. The Thanksgiving holiday was a muc...

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Title:Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose
Author:Joe Biden
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Edition Language:English

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose Reviews

  • Erin

    I absolutely love Joe Biden.

    In 2015 I donated money to a SuperPac that was trying to convince Joe to run for President. I truly believe that had he run he would have beat both Hillary and 45. Just think about how different our country would be right now. No Congressional investigations, no special prosecutor, and no indictments. Our country would still be respected among our allies. I was deeply disappointed when Joe decided not to run but I completely understood why.

    He had just lost his oldest

    I absolutely love Joe Biden.

    In 2015 I donated money to a SuperPac that was trying to convince Joe to run for President. I truly believe that had he run he would have beat both Hillary and 45. Just think about how different our country would be right now. No Congressional investigations, no special prosecutor, and no indictments. Our country would still be respected among our allies. I was deeply disappointed when Joe decided not to run but I completely understood why.

    He had just lost his oldest son Beau Biden to brain cancer, the same brain cancer that Senator John McCain is now battling( If you haven't already seen it you should go look at the video of Joe & Megan McCain on The View). Joe Biden has experienced more pain and loss than anyone should have to bare. While not yet 30 years old Joe lost his first wife and infant daughter in a car accident that left his 2 sons Beau and Hunter badly injured. I don't have children but I can only imagine how horrible it must be to lose one child but Joe has lost 2. With so much heartbreak Joe still carries within him a bright light and a warmness radiates from him.

    Promise Me, Dad is part political memoir but mostly its a memoir of a fathers grief. Joe Biden is a man of great heart, humility, integrity, and decency. Joe Biden is a man who is grounded and relatable. This country is a better place because of his service.

    A Must Read.

  • Christy

    Joe Biden is one of those people who have lived an incredible life. He’s done a lot in his lifetime, but he’s also lost a lot. Yet he still manages to be a fun and lovable guy who doesn’t lose his faith and looks on the bright-side.

    After listeni

    Joe Biden is one of those people who have lived an incredible life. He’s done a lot in his lifetime, but he’s also lost a lot. Yet he still manages to be a fun and lovable guy who doesn’t lose his faith and looks on the bright-side.

    After listening to this audio book (which was narrated by Joe himself) I have a new level of respect for him. If I would have lived his life, I don’t think I would have had the same strength he’s had. 

This is a powerful book. A story of one man’s life, his journey, the obstacles he overcame and all the loss he’s had. It’s a book that made me cry loads, but also gave me a lot of hope. I adore Joe Biden and I recommend this touching and heartfelt memoir to all!

  • Cheri

    -- Angel, lyrics by Sarah McLachlan

    - Immanuel Kan

    -- Angel, lyrics by Sarah McLachlan

    - Immanuel Kant

    As this memoir of loss and love begins, Joe Biden and his family were planning their family Thanksgiving gathering, with children and grandchildren, five and a half years since he had become vice president. The family looking forward to together time, and for him,

    And that, an easy, steady, calm rhythm, is the overall feeling of this book.

    This is, in part, a journey alongside him through political events that he was involved with during that year, overseeing much of the international issues in the Ukraine and Iraq, plus the “Northern Triangle” of Central America. Another aspect of this is his internal struggle with the idea of potentially running for president. And then there’s Beau, his son, whose health is questionable at first, and deteriorates as his treatments for glioblastoma, go on. It saps the strength out of you to read this, every parent’s worst nightmare to watch their child, no matter their child’s age. There are also numerous heartwarming family moments, and I could feel the importance of family, his faith, and even his belief in this political system that we have was strongly felt.

    This was heartbreaking to read at times, but I also loved how committed this man was and is to doing the right thing, not only for himself and his family, but for the country, and for the world.

    And then yesterday, when I sat down, taking a momentary break from reading to check the television, I saw the unfolding news on the shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida. And today, when I sat down to do the same, it was the current President speaking on the shooting, and I have to wonder at the way things are today.

    There is so much love in this family, in this book. This is such an incredibly poignant read. Not only because of his losses, but also because of the kindness and solace he offers to others.

    I really loved this, I loved how devoted he is to his family, to the country, and to finding resolutions to world problems. I loved the relationship he had and has with the Obamas, who consider themselves part of the Biden clan. I loved how he never really seemed to lose sight of the growth he gained because of his past tragedies, and that he was able to see those blessings that came out of those events.

    Politically, this is worth reading, although it is not particularly heavy on the politics. At its heart, this is really a memoir of a parent who has lost a child, and the wisdom he has gained through his life that helped him deal with this crushing episode. I would hope that this would be somewhat healing for him to write, and comforting for others to read, knowing that someone else has survived this awful fate.

    Many thanks, once again, to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book!

  • Montzalee Wittmann

    Promise Me, Dad

    A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

    By: Joe Biden

    Narrated by: Joe Biden

    This is a book I really liked and it moved me emotionally. I have to admit, I have always liked Joe Biden. He says what he thinks and to hell with it. He has a good moral background. America, family, and common sense are the key phrases I think of when I think of Joe. You may disagree but that's ok, read the book and write your own review. This is mine.

    He is compassionate about a lot of things and none of them

    Promise Me, Dad

    A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

    By: Joe Biden

    Narrated by: Joe Biden

    This is a book I really liked and it moved me emotionally. I have to admit, I have always liked Joe Biden. He says what he thinks and to hell with it. He has a good moral background. America, family, and common sense are the key phrases I think of when I think of Joe. You may disagree but that's ok, read the book and write your own review. This is mine.

    He is compassionate about a lot of things and none of them are hate, war, or bringing anyone else down. His love for his family and America are obvious in his past and present. He has a good disposition in general, and in how he handles situations, even things so horrific as the death of his son. He didn't get bitter, or lash out, or become a terrible person...he remained...Joe. This was very difficult to listen to in parts..I choked up and cried, I am a mom and to lose a son would be so crippling, so devastating..I don't know what kind of person I would become, how I would cope. Joe has strength and courage. It's not like he had a small job he could go take a few weeks off and mourn.

    He also narrated this book so it was doubly hard to hear his voice as he tells of his loss and the anguish. I am glad I listened to this book. I have a deeper understanding to how he made it through that year. I hope I never have to endure this but I do see how strong a man he really is.

  • Matt

    At a time when many politicians climb onto soap boxes and publish pieces to extol their own greatness, former Vice-President Joe Biden released this short book that seeks to rise above the fray and offer a story of hope, despair, and personal reflection. It is perhaps the first book I have read where a politician talks of their choice to turn away from high office, but it is much more than that, as the attentive and dedicated reader will discover. At the heart of the story is the struggle Biden

    At a time when many politicians climb onto soap boxes and publish pieces to extol their own greatness, former Vice-President Joe Biden released this short book that seeks to rise above the fray and offer a story of hope, despair, and personal reflection. It is perhaps the first book I have read where a politician talks of their choice to turn away from high office, but it is much more than that, as the attentive and dedicated reader will discover. At the heart of the story is the struggle Biden had with his eldest son’s brain cancer diagnosis. This realisation puts everything into perspective for the vice-president, as well as the entire Biden family. Wanting to keep things private, no one would share the news publicly and Biden was still trying to serve the Obama Administration as effectively as possible. Woven into the story are countless international crises that Biden was required to handle, sometimes an eager distraction while at other times an anchor that kept him from the focus on family and loved ones. Added to that, there was the 2016 presidential election to consider. Would Biden, a capable long-term politician and hands-on member of the Executive Branch, toss his hat into the ring? Those in Democrat circles watched and waited, the country soundlessly tapped their collective foot, still unaware of the chaos that brewed for the Biden family below the surface. When Beau Biden did pass, it was both a relief and a blow to the entire Biden family, as the glue that held them all together was lost. The elder Biden tried to remember all the promises he made to his son, some in passing and a few heart-felt pleas to carry the torch. The most important of these was the promise not to let 2016 pass without a Biden running for president. The latter portion of the book, with Beau gone and Joe trying to wrap his head around it all, turns to the 2016 race. Would he run? Should he run? Could he run and make a difference? It would seem that while Biden pondered his options, the country had already placed him as a front-runner. As Biden confides, it was his decision and his alone. GOP members and the media would only offer kid gloves for so long, as well as the Clinton camp that began cursing another heavyweight to neutralise. In the end, Biden chose what he felt was best, a promise to Beau that he would do his best to be the man everyone knew. The Joe Biden who used compassion over a club, integrity over vicious words, and intelligence over knee-jerk reactions. This is a wonderful piece, suited for all readers who like the more human side of politicians, though can understand the rhetoric that goes along with having a role in the machine. Touching at times, Biden pulls out all the stops and tells a story that will not soon be forgotten.

    When I picked up this book, I had just finished a thorough examination of the 2016 presidential election, one in which I was left gagging at the atrocious actions of people vying to represent the entire American population. However, I wanted to see more about the narrative from the Biden perspective, the man who chose not to put his hat in the ring. While I expected a strong political discussion throughout, I was happy to find something more complex. Within these pages rests a narrative that wove together the power of American politics, international clashes, family interactions, and a man’s struggle to come to terms with his son’s eventual illness. The reader is in for a strong piece here, forced to handle emotions and see how world events shaped the man who sought to keep it all together and away from the public eye. Biden does not pull punches in this piece, but does not make excuses either. He tells of world events (ISIS, ISIL, Ukraine, Russia), as well as domestic policies in the Obama Administration, but he also injects strong ties to family and the love they bring him. This is a piece that helps shape a man and his love for country, family, and self. It is impossible to divorce any of it effectively.

    A few things that I took away from this book include the knowledge that life does not stop when tragedy knocks, promises to those who are going before us mean more than a simple nod of the head, and there is more to life than tossing mud in the eyes of one’s opponents. Anyone who has been through a personal tragedy will know that while they are numb, a simple look out the window will show that life is not prepared to stop for grieving, it moves along. Such is one of the key sentiments that Biden shares with the reader. Terror still occurs, state sovereignty is not respected, domestic issues do not solve themselves. Biden was forced to juggle all of it in order to mix his public and personal lives. It is obvious (but nice to hear) that others struggle with this as well. The list of promises made to the dying can be heart-wrenching, as the reader may know. One always promises to do this and that, if only to bring a sense of ease to the one who will soon be gone. However, Biden did not take his promises to Beau as simple window dressing, those “yah, umm, sure...” moments. He felt that he owed it to the son who always supported him and whose political light shone just as powerfully. Biden shows that he is a different sort of man, looking to others rather than his own greatness, to shape the future of his own legacy. Finally, one cannot deny that 2016 was one of the most divisive presidential election campaigns in recent history. That Biden sought to enter the race is commendable, especially looking at those with whom he would cross paths. The decision not to run, where he would be forced to face Clinton, Sanders, and Trump (and countless others), may have been determining factors. But, Biden seems less interested in gouging out the eyes of others and more about trying to build the country up. Few readers would deny that 2016 was less about policy and more about how to denigrate others in the hopes of tearing them down. Did a newly-wounded Biden really need that in his life? It is the ultimate sacrifice to bear one’s self to the electorate, especially in these days when no one holds back with their mud slinging. While there will be some readers who want dirt-only with their political stories, I would recommend this piece to anyone with a heart or who has been touched with the loss of a loved one. It seeks to unite, as much as politics usually divides, and tells of the powerlessness one can feel at the hands of cancer, but offers the strength to persevere.

    Kudos, Mr. Vice-President, for such a wonderful piece. After reading this, I would strongly like to read a thorough version of your memoirs, should you choose to pen them.

    Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

    A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge:

  • Truman32

    Reading Joe Biden’s

    I was reminded again how great it was to have Biden-as thoughtful, compassionate, and smart as anyone you are likely to meet --as our 45th President. I mean, wow, we really dodged a bullet there. Just think; the current President of the United States of America could be an outdated, narcissistic jackass who is more concerned with his social media accounts, lying about his weight, and the imminent threat of sharks than gov

    Reading Joe Biden’s

    I was reminded again how great it was to have Biden-as thoughtful, compassionate, and smart as anyone you are likely to meet --as our 45th President. I mean, wow, we really dodged a bullet there. Just think; the current President of the United States of America could be an outdated, narcissistic jackass who is more concerned with his social media accounts, lying about his weight, and the imminent threat of sharks than governing our country.

    reads like a particularly moving episode of the television series The West Wing—though any shortfall in sparkling dialogue (and the tragic shortage of Sam Seaborns) is more than made up for with its surplus of intense and genuine feels.

    documents the arduous year of 2015. As Vice President to Barrack Obama, Joe Biden has his hands full overseeing international issues in the Ukraine, Iraq, and Central America’s violent Northern Triangle. It is the final year of his term so he is also forced to make the decision of running for president—is he invested 110% in the taxing toll this political campaign will cost? But even more than that, he grapples with the fact his dear son, Beau, is gravely ill with a malignant brain tumor. “Promise me Dad,” Beau tells his father. “Give me your word that no matter what happens you’re going to be alright.”

    This is a tale of profound family love between fathers and his sons, and between siblings. Despite Beau being in his 40’s, Joe sees him always as an 8-year-old boy. He will always be his little boy and watching him battle glioblastoma is crushing. It is apparent that Biden is blessed with the support and love of his family and friends something he will need, as Beau gets sicker and sicker.

    Reading

    , I have learned that 1.) there are moments of true grace and compassion in this harsh world we live in, and 2.) I apparently am not above weeping uncontrollably in my car at my son’s elementary school pick up line. Think of the ugliest crier you know and then immerse them in mucus and you will have me yesterday afternoon. The ball of scrunched up Kleenex tissues was the size of a Sumo wrestler’s head and stout enough to set off the passenger seat air-bag warning sensor. The school’s principal even came out to see if I needed medical attention.

    Joe Biden comes off as a truly good guy who cares about folks and making our country and our world better. This book is full of instances where his focus transitions from his own suffering to making other people feel better. There is a moment where Barrack Obama gets visibly upset hearing about Beau’s health decline and Joe works to comfort and

    . There is another instance with the father of a murdered New York policeman, Wei Tang Liu, showing up to provide solace to Joe that would melt even the most frozen heart in America (which is, of course, the heart of actress Betty White). In fact if you do not have tears running down your burning cheeks at the end of this well-written book I can only hazard to guess that you must in fact be an evil alien robot Cylon and Dr. Who will need to beam in and perform a petrificus totalus spell on you to take you back to the forest moon of Endor.

    This is wonderful book, and while sad it demonstrates the resiliency of people to overcome great sadness as well as the humanity shown when giving comfort to our families, friends, and neighbors in pain (often from unexpected places).

  • Elyse Walters

    Reading this extraordinary memoir was so beautifully written- unsentimental-

    but very sad - and searingly honest....I regret not having read it sooner.

    The most poignant sections of this book for me were the family relationships and the intricacies of Beau’s disease, glioblastoma, ....the most aggressive cancer that begins in the brain.

    “There was a new crises in Iraq that day, and it needed my attention. Although I knew it was my responsibility, I felt for the first time a sense of resentment t

    Reading this extraordinary memoir was so beautifully written- unsentimental-

    but very sad - and searingly honest....I regret not having read it sooner.

    The most poignant sections of this book for me were the family relationships and the intricacies of Beau’s disease, glioblastoma, ....the most aggressive cancer that begins in the brain.

    “There was a new crises in Iraq that day, and it needed my attention. Although I knew it was my responsibility, I felt for the first time a sense of resentment that I had to divert focus to anything other than Beau, even for just half an hour. My son was in one room in extremis and I was sitting in another, forced to deal with a problem sixty-two miles away”.

    There is no question of how much Joe Biden loves his country and family. He takes both jobs seriously. His children - wife - extended family - are all cut from the same thread. GOOD PEOPLE!

    Getting to know Beau and his brother Hunter was especially moving to me. Their birthdays were only a day apart.....and the brotherly bond between them was inspiring.

    *Beau* was a remarkable guy. It’s inconceivable what he went through. He met his cancer treatments head on - never resisting the most uncomfortable aggressive cancer treatments to fight the most aggressive type of cancer that he had. He ‘was’ not giving up. He was concerned for his wife, children, brother, sister, mom, and ‘pop’....( Joe).

    And at one point in the journey ... the doctors actually thought Beau might actually be the first person to come through glioblastoma alive. I was so moved - impressed with the team of doctors - hoping for the possibility even though I knew the outcome. I was literally hanging by a thread trying to comprehend and follow along with the medical procedures. We could ‘feel’ those moments of hope and success

    At one point Beau was ‘running’ again. I was soooo happy for his entire family. God...if I WANTED HIS RECOVERY ( so bad) and I KNEW this outcome .....I can’t imagine the roller coaster emotions of that last year.

    I would love to see Joe Biden as our President right now ....just to imagine it kinda feels good for a few minutes. Don’t even ask me why my eyes water and I could be crying here in seconds. I won’t make this political review —

    I totally respect Joe Biden, though, love this man. I am so sorry for his loss. For his entire family’s loss.

    Taking time for oneself to grieve- is responsible.

    Bless this family!

    Thank you Joe Biden for the gift this book is.

  • Cynthia

    Disappointing. I hesitated to give this a 3 star rating, feeling it's more 2 - 2.5.

    Let me preface my review by saying in no way does my opinion on this book reflect my political leanings. I happen to like Joe Biden. I thought he was a great VP. I have the utmost respect for him, for his longstanding career, and my heart goes out to him and his family over the loss of Beau, and previously, his first wife and daughter.

    I hesitate to criticize a book being plugged as a book about the last year of

    Disappointing. I hesitated to give this a 3 star rating, feeling it's more 2 - 2.5.

    Let me preface my review by saying in no way does my opinion on this book reflect my political leanings. I happen to like Joe Biden. I thought he was a great VP. I have the utmost respect for him, for his longstanding career, and my heart goes out to him and his family over the loss of Beau, and previously, his first wife and daughter.

    I hesitate to criticize a book being plugged as a book about the last year of Beau Biden's life. Mixed feelings about doing so, I do not intend any disrespect or diminish the loss, but an honest review is always required regardless of the subject.

    This book feels much more "look at all the great things I did that year" with a little bit of looking at that last year of Beau's life thrown in. I thought this would be more about the family that year. It wasn't.

    While reading about Joe's part in the Ukraine-Russia crisis, Iraq and the Northern Triangle was interesting, I didn't pick this book up to read about all the amazing and miraculous things Joe was achieving by his stellar diplomacy. It felt very, very much like he was laying out his case as to why he would be worthy President come 2020. He talked quite a bit about his potential 2016 run, naming numerous people - celebrity to political to steel worker, who would back him in the run, how everyone was convinced he'd win. Wow. Totally disagree on that one. He had run previously, didn't work out. People now hated the Dem's even more, no way would they tag the VP as the next Pres. they wanted change. He did not reflect change.

    The writings about Beau's fight and the family as a whole were well written. They are clearly a tight knit, loving, supportive family. You would want to know them, be in their inner circle. I was troubled with how little he wrote about Beau's wife Hallie. When Beau was going through various testing, chemo, radiation and so on, Joe would go on & on about how Hunter, his second son, was always by Beau's side. Where was Hallie? He mentioned her being there once or twice but the overall it was intimated she wasn't in the picture. I find it hard to believe she wasn't there at he husband's side. That she wasn't included in the decision making, to hear Joe tell it it was Beau and Hunter, no one else. That felt unfair to her. Who knows? Maybe she didn't have as integral a role in being there as a spouse normally would, but that would be surprising.

    At times he wasn't as glowing about President Obama as I would have expected. It felt as though he harbors resentment that Obama was pushing him to not run for office, that Obama was leaning towards Hillary almost from the get go. During their weekly lunches Obama would often inquire if Joe had made a decision on entering the race. Joe was taking so long to make a decision, while understanding to a degree, it had to have been irritating to those needing an answer on whether they should move forward in building a campaign. I think one person should have said to Joe "If it's taking you this long to decide, that's your decision. The time isn't right".

    Mark my words he runs in 2020. He's laying the groundwork right now.

  • Rincey

    How do I convince Joe Biden to write an entire book about his friendship with Obama?

    See my talk about this briefly in my April wrap up:

  • abby

    This is the inspiring story of how Joe Biden channels the grief over losing his son, Beau, into a successful campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Propelled by a promise he made to his late son to continue his path of public service, and boosted by his extraordinary accomplishments as vice-president, Biden outmaneuvered the massive political machine backing a well-financed Hillary Clinton to win the nomination and take on Donald Trump.

    Except that's not what happened. But if you were an al

    This is the inspiring story of how Joe Biden channels the grief over losing his son, Beau, into a successful campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Propelled by a promise he made to his late son to continue his path of public service, and boosted by his extraordinary accomplishments as vice-president, Biden outmaneuvered the massive political machine backing a well-financed Hillary Clinton to win the nomination and take on Donald Trump.

    Except that's not what happened. But if you were an alien who floated down to earth to read this book with no prior knowledge of 2016, that's exactly what you'd think happened until virtually the last page. Heck, I was starting to buy into the idea that's what happened, and I remember 2016 all too well.

    I grew up close to Wilmington, DE. Everyone knows the Bidens. I had friends who attended Tatnall with his children. He's my third Senator (that's right, Delaware, we use you for your tax free shopping and steal your Senators). I've always has a fondness for good ole' Uncle Joe, but I have to admit this book confused me a bit. I felt like I was reading a commercial for Biden

    2020, not a tribute to Beau, a good man who died way too young. Beau is really in the background of this book. Most of what Biden wants to tell readers seems to be about his experiences working with the unstable democracies in the Ukraine, central America, and Iraq.

    That not to say I wasn't moved by Beau's story, or that I didn't cry. I'm not a robot. And there were parts of this book I did enjoy and find value in. But when I look at it logically: 250 pages long with large-ish font, a back and forth timeline that can be confusing in places, an author who writes about himself as if he's his own hero... I can't get above 3 stars with this one.

    If Joe runs in 2020, I'll probably vote for him. I'll skip his next book, though.

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