A Joe Biden biography to warm the heart

The timing couldnt be more perfect. “Joe Biden: American Dreamer” (Bloomsbury) is a concise, brilliant and incisive examination of the US President-elect and his lifelong quest for the White House by National Book Award winner and New Yorker staff writer Evan Osnos.

Former Vice President Biden has been called both the luckiest man and the unluckiest — fortunate to have sustained a 50-year political career that reached the White House, but also marked by deep personal losses that he has suffered.

Yet, even as Biden’s life has been shaped by drama, it has also been powered by a willingness, rare at the top ranks of politics, to confront his shortcomings, errors and reversals of fortune. His trials have forged in him a deep empathy for others in hardship — an essential quality as he addresses a nation at its most dire hour in decades.

Blending up-close journalism and broader context, Osnos illuminates Biden’s life and captures the characters and meaning of an extraordinary presidential election. He draws on lengthy interviews with Biden and on revealing conversations with more than a hundred others, including former President Barack Obama, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and a range of progressive activists, advisers, opponents, and Biden’s family members.

In this nuanced portrait, Biden emerges as flawed, yet resolute, and tempered by the flame of tragedy — a man who just may be uncannily suited for his moment in history.

Osnos has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 2008. His most recent book, “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China”, won the National Book Award, among other honours. Previously, he had reported from China, Iraq and elsewhere for the Chicago Tribune, where he shared a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He lives with his wife and children in Washington DC.