Growing Up Biden: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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A memoir from Valerie Biden Owens, Joe Biden’s younger sister, trusted confidante and lifelong campaign manager. Valerie, one of the first female campaign managers in United States history, writes of the role of family, faith, and fate in shaping her life, and the power of empathy and kindness in the face of turmoil and division.
Growing Up Biden details Valerie’s decades-long professional career in politics, and the central role she played in her brother’s life as an insightful adviser, an ever-loyal advocate and best friend.
This memoir, full of candor and warmth, brings readers into the Biden home and shares stories from growing up in Delaware as the only daughter of the close-knit Irish Catholic family. Valerie writes in a compelling, relatable way about the challenges she faced breaking through gender barriers, the elusive nature of confidence, and navigating professional responsibilities while raising children.
Valerie Biden Owens is the first woman in U.S. history to have run a presidential campaign—that of her brother, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. She also led his seven straight U.S. Senate victories and has been his principal surrogate on the campaign trail.
Valerie is Chair of the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware and a partner at Owens Patrick Leadership Seminars. Valerie sits on the Advisory Board of the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children. For 20 years, when Valerie was not managing or advising President Biden’s campaigns, she served as Executive Vice President of Joe Slade White & Co., a media consulting firm. She has worked extensively with Women’s Campaign International, teaching women how to organize and develop communication and political skills. Valerie has also served on the National Board of the Women’s Leadership Forum of the Democratic National Committee and has served for 35 years on the board of The Ministry of Caring. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware. She is married to Jack Owens, an attorney and businessman. They have three children.
“[A]t the book’s core is a familiar Biden theme: the loyal, faithful family—one that might seem too loving to be true if we hadn’t seen the extent to which each member has been tested. The beating heart of President Biden’s life and career has always been family.”
—Elle Magazine, “Valerie Biden Owens Is Her Brother’s Keeper”
“Valerie Biden Owens, the best friend, confidante, sister and long-time campaign manager of President Joe Biden, is a force to be reckoned with. She is a successful political strategist and a family-orientated mom of three whose life’s work has been to not only support and advise her brother during his long political career but also empower women to follow their dreams. Leading by example, she serves as an inspiration to women in politics and beyond.”
—Parade.com, “Valerie Biden Owens Reflects on Her Trailblazing Career and Family in New Memoir, Growing Up Biden”
“Growing Up Biden is exactly what you expect: A loving tribute to Joe Biden from his only sister, loyal confidante and fierce defender. Valerie Biden Owens has been at his side for 76 years but has deliberately stayed in the background. As the mother of three children, teacher and longtime campaign manager puts it: “It’s fair to say that I lived the first forty years of my public adult life in Joe’s shadow.”
—Washington Post, “Ten things we learned from the new Valerie Biden Owens book”
“Such is the story of Val and Joe, partners in politics and confidantes in campaigns, the former always following and helping the latter. That's the spine of Growing Up Biden…”
—PEOPLE.com, “Joe Biden’s Sister Valerie Opens Up: ‘We Bleed Like Every Family in America’”
"What a terrific memoir! With an uncanny gift for storytelling and an eye for colorful detail, Biden artfully interweaves personal and public recollections to capture our imagination from start to finish. As future historians seek to understand the Biden family, there will be no better place to start than this intimate, warm, and beautifully written portrait."
—Doris Kearns Goodwin
“With grace and candor, Valerie Biden Owens has given us an illuminating and moving memoir of an American family whose history is now inextricably intertwined with the history of our nation. From her unique perspective as her brother’s friend, adviser, and campaign manager through tumult, tragedy, and triumph, Owens paints a memorable portrait of the soul of a president whose mission is to the save the soul of America. It is the tallest of orders, the most difficult of tasks. But to hear Owens’s distinctive and original voice detail the Bidens’ long journey, it’s a job that could not be in better hands. This is a book about love, laughter, and life itself.”
"As a campaign manager, senior adviser or chief surrogate for every one of her brother’s campaigns, Valerie Biden Owens has been an integral part of Joe Biden’s success, and a profound influence in his life. Her stories of their close-knit Irish Catholic family are deeply moving and funny at the same time. As one of the first women to run major political campaigns, she has been much more than an eyewitness to history—she’s been an important part of it."
“Why it matters: No one knows President Biden better than his sister, his closest lifelong confidant, supporter and adviser. Her book, out Tuesday, is her story — but it's chockablock with new insights about her big brother.”
—Margaret Talev for Axios
“In Growing Up Biden, out from Celadon, the president’s strategist and younger sister describes Joe’s ‘trademark overenthusiasm’ as he introduces her to her future husband; supporting each other through devastating loss; and their political campaigns, failed and victorious.”
—Vanity Fair, April Issue
"... [a] touching account of life with her oldest sibling...politics aside, this shines with heart and humanity."
"Biden Owens offers rosy hindsight that comes from a life well lived. She is clearly a determined woman that exudes the warmth and capabilities her big brother has always known. [Growing Up Biden is] a ringing endorsement of the power of a supportive family, especially for those in the public eye."
“…Owens offers both triumphant and tragic memories in an easy and unpretentious manner that conveys the abiding influence of family, faith, and friendship in the Biden universe.”