Book Review: The Book Of Joe

The Book Of Joe:  The Life, Wit, And (Sometimes Accidental) Wisdom Of Joe Biden, by Jeff Wilser

Rarely has a book made its approach more plain and failed to account for the obvious problems that result from the framing of the book’s subject.  If this book is useful, despite its framing, it is in showing that Joe Biden is not someone to be underestimated.  If he comes off as being a few bananas short of a fruit stand at best and in early stages of dementia at the worst, this book indicates that beneath the zaniness and malarkey that Biden tries to pass off as his own personality and beyond the immense capacity for gaffes that he shows on a consistent basis is a person willing to put the hard work in doing his oppo research and then springing it on those who underestimate his stamina.  I did not come away from this book liking Biden, but I did come away respecting him as a formidable swamp monster who is worthy of being taken seriously if not at face value.  And the fact that the author seemed to indicate Biden’s popularity among other bipartisan swamp monsters does not quite serve the purpose of allaying concerns that one might have about him relating to corruption, as the book tries to make it seem as if Biden and his family have not greatly profited from the grift related to public service, which is definitely not the case.

This book is a relatively short one at 200 pages that seeks to frame Biden’s life as being a source of inspirational wisdom for the reader.  After an introduction that discusses the body of work that exists about Biden, the author begins with a discussion of Biden’s early life in part one, which contains three chapters that discuss his childhood struggle with a stammer (1) and the bullying that came with it, his studies in college and graduate school and his struggles to make a living afterword (2) and his campaign against a popular Republican senator who underestimated him (3).  After that the next four chapters discuss Biden’s career as a Senator (II) from 1972-2008, including chapters that discuss how Biden developed a reputation for fair dealing with his colleagues (4), how he Borked someone who would have greatly improved the moral state of the United States over the past few decades (5), how he overcome a disastrous first campaign for President in 1988 (6), and how he took advantage of second chances after recovering from a brain aneurysm that nearly killed him (7).  The last part of the book then looks at Biden’s reputation as a Vice President (III), with a discussion of his gaffes (8) in the office, his being a father to Beau (9), and his desire to come back and even run for President afterward (10), after which the book ends with acknowledgements, endnotes, and a selected bibliography.

Looking at this particular book, it is clear that this is part of a larger effort at framing Joe Biden as being a key player in Obama’s administration and someone whose career as a whole is worthy of the presidency.  Playing up the sympathy angle relating to the tragic death of Biden’s first wife and oldest daughter in a car accident as well as the death of Beau Hunter, his eldest son, by cancer, the author is keen to avoid talking about the political corruption that Hunter Biden has been involved with in China, Ukraine, Romania, and who knows how many other countries.  The author tries to promote Biden as a middle class hero instead of a multi-millionaire who has profited greatly from political grift and influence peddling, and who has tended to draw at least grudging respect from those politicians on both sides of the aisle who share his profiteering motive with regards to public service.  Whether or not this is worth any fondness and approval from the general public is a different matter entirely.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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