September 10, 2020

New book about Joe Biden slated to publish week before presidential election


It’s not exactly an October surprise, but after a busy season in the Trump book game Simon & Schuster will be getting in the Biden business before the election rolls around.

New Yorker journalist Evan Osnos’s Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now was announced this week, and is scheduled to drop October 28th from the S & S’s Scribner imprint.

The book grew out of Osnos’s New Yorker pieces on Biden, interviews with his former challengers for the Democratic nomination, and conversations with his family. As Osnos says in his publisher’s announcement for the project:

Six years ago, The New Yorker gave me the chance to start writing about Biden; and I’ve stayed fascinated by the extraordinary course of his life ever since. . . . After visiting him at home in July, for my latest story, I decided to pull together my thinking about Biden, and this moment in America, as a longer narrative. I’m honored that Scribner moved mountains to bring the book to publication so urgently.

The book promises to span Biden’s long career in the senate, and bring the reader up through his recent selection of Kamala Harris as Vice President. It will also seek to capture “the what matters now,” or the effect that the weight of our current socio-political moment has had on the candidate. In the words of the book’s earliest online marketing copy:

Osnos ponders the difficulties Biden will face if elected and weighs how political circumstances, and changes in the candidate’s thinking, have altered his positions. 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.

Biden himself has written bestselling books on family and country, while Osnos’s last effort, Age of Ambition, was a National Book Award Winner and Pulitzer Prize Finalist.



Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.