Joe Biden
A review of

Joe Biden

The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now

Evan OsnosScribner • 2020

A Sincere, Pugnacious Enigma

by David Meyer

National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Evan Osnos examines President Joe Biden’s personality and history, both personal and political.

In this concise study of Joe Biden, Evan Osnos, a National Book Award winner – for his Age of Ambition – and a New Yorker staff writer since 2008, delves into the US president’s flaws and considerable attributes. The author presents Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s most notable characteristic as being able to take a blow and persevere. He sees Biden as a collage of contradictions: a lifelong politician who’s “thin-skinned” and empathetic, gaffe-prone and – a rare enough attribute – thoroughly decent.

“Joe Impedimenta”

Because Joe Biden suffered a severe childhood stutter, Osnos reports, his classmates called him “Joe Impedimenta.” Biden told the author of his fear, anger and embarrassment, and said he overcame his stutter in part by striking up conversations after mentally rehearsing what he would say. 


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