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Publisher's Summary

The inside story of the historic 2020 presidential election and Joe Biden’s harrowing ride to victory, from the number-one New York Times best-selling authors of Shattered, the definitive account of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Almost no one thought Joe Biden could make it back to the White House - not Donald Trump, not the two dozen Democratic rivals who sought to take down a weak front-runner, not the mega-donors and key endorsers who feared he could not beat Bernie Sanders, not even Barack Obama. The story of Biden’s cathartic victory in the 2020 election is the story of a Democratic Party at odds with itself, torn between the single-minded goal of removing Donald Trump and the push for a bold progressive agenda that threatened to alienate as many voters as it drew. 

In Lucky, New York Times best-selling authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes use their unparalleled access to key players inside the Democratic and Republican campaigns to unfold how Biden’s nail-biting run for the presidency vexed his own party as much as it did Trump. Having premised his path on unlocking the Black vote in South Carolina, Biden nearly imploded before he got there after a relentless string of misfires left him freefalling in polls and nearly broke. 

Allen and Parnes brilliantly detail the remarkable string of chance events that saved him, from the botched Iowa caucus tally that concealed his terrible result, to the pandemic lockdown that kept him off the stump, where he was often at his worst. More powerfully, Lucky unfolds the pitched struggle within Biden’s general election campaign to downplay the very issues that many Democrats believed would drive voters to the polls, especially in the wake of Trump’s response to nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd. Even Biden’s victory did not salve his party’s wounds; instead, it revealed a surprising, complicated portrait of American voters and crushed Democrats’ belief in the inevitability of a blue wave.

A thrilling masterpiece of political reporting, Lucky is essential listening for understanding the most important election in American history and the future that will come of it. 

©2021 Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (P)2021 Random House Audio

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Fantastic review of one lucky campaign

This was really insightful, the narrative intertwines the various democratic campaigns and the trump election campaign with such rigorous and exclusive detail, to the campaign staff and managers and the turmoil of running for president. The internal
Conflicts are the most interesting, and understanding the thinking of the insiders and the candidates made this a really enjoyable read. I was a sanders supporter, but this really doesn’t paint him in the best light, I don’t think it’s a bias against him, the assessment comes from those close to him.
I have a deeper appreciation for Biden after hearing this, the man didn’t give up even when it looked he should, and ran a really intelligent campaign outlining his strengths and weaknesses really well, against a apathetic but cunning president trump.
Biden got lucky but he also was really the right man for the occasion. A fantastic read well worth the credit. It was never boring.

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  • Christopher K Phillips
  • 20-03-2021

Some interesting inside stories

It's a well researched book and I found it interesting all the way through. Being somewhat of a political nerd, a lot of the details I already knew but there were some interesting tidbits that were new to me.

Here's my problem with the book. I feel as though the writers didn't like writing about this. It seemed to pain them to talk about any of it. They also seem to dislike every single person they wrote about, from the lower level Biden staff all the way to the stars of the Democratic party and almost every candidate in the Democratic primary... All of them are either power hungry, selfish, egotistical, lazy, lacking in imagination, difficult to work with, demanding or disorganized etc... They're all bad and the Trump people are even worse. The only person they did not disparage was Pete Buttigieg. I'm not kidding, they hate everyone but even with that, they struggled to paint Joe as a bad person. Theres also a twinge of sexism in their portrayal of Kamala Harris in my opinion. They end the book with so much negativity it's almost comical. There's no big message at the end other than everyone sucks

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  • Daniel Zuniga
  • 15-03-2021

Very engaging political history

Well written deep dive tht digests the last insane couple of years in a way that didn't feel pandery or hyper critical. Really fun insider nuggets for political wonks.

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  • Anne Brown
  • 25-04-2021

Deep dive inside...

Found myself feeling the suspense all over again. Extremely well done. Real appreciation for campaign leaders.

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  • DC D
  • 12-04-2021

Borrow don't buy

The book was a let down. I would recommend borrowing the book from a library.

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  • JE
  • 09-04-2021

if you're ok with the CNN'fiction of events.

once you get pasted the Democratic talking points, this book has some pretty decent inside baseball to President Bidens 20' campaign.

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  • mr kieran j murphy
  • 08-04-2021

an interesting book

this is really interesting. spends more time looking start of campaign than general campaign but still good.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-04-2021

Take with a grain is fault.


Normally I love books about the chaos and rush of political campaigns. But as Luck would have it, the clear anti-Trump bias puts this book in the category of “hit piece.” Makes it far less interesting than an author(s) who hides their voting record. I vote on PASS.

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  • Walter J. Caywood
  • 06-04-2021

Interesting if want detailed rundown

Overall worth the read but the depth of analysis wanting in some respects. The authors political slant obvious but much "inside baseball" reporting on the Biden campaign.

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  • M. M. Hong
  • 01-04-2021

Great book if you are crazy about politics

So interesting. Enjoyed the look into the different campaigns and styles. End felt rushed but maybe I was left just wanting more. Is there a sequel coming?

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  • Richie Rich
  • 27-03-2021

Reads like a suspense thriller!

Even though at this point we know what the outcome is going to be, nonetheless you’ll be biting your nails as the election tallies slowly roll in state by state. The authors have captured well the personalities of the key players especially the presidential candidates themselves. I appreciated that even though Trump is so often his own caricature, the authors themselves never caricature the ex-president or Republicans. I hope Democrats keep in mind how close this election was and how lucky their candidate, so as not to lose the second round.

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  • David
  • 19-04-2021

One damn thing after another

This was an interesting insider’s account of the rise and rise of Biden, but amidst the collection of anecdotes is the feeling that something is missing. There’s precious little discussion of money amidst the most expensive elections in the world. There’s hardly any reference to the corporate power deployed during the elections, where almost $3.5 billion dollars were raised by Super PACs as “outside spending”. There’s little discussion of the cultural elites - I’m reminded in particular of the image of Hilary Clinton being welcomed on to the stage by Jay-Z and Beyoncé in 2016, which was used to dramatic effect in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9. There’s a lot attacking Bernie Sanders and the BernieBros. This is all about the party machines, the TV gaffes, the who said what to who. Entertaining (although Biden is just a grey blob at the centre of this web, failing to come out of it with anything resembling a personality, much less any political principles - which is, I think, the point the authors are driving at) but ultimately vacuous.

If not Biden, and the term damned by faint praise may as well have been coined by this book, then who? Pretty much everyone comes out looking a little sullied by the primaries, on the Democratic side, and the authors make clear early on their view that Trump is a danger to the republic. The implicit question is, how did it happen that Biden is the guy picked to fight him? What does he even stand for? The underlying assumption of the authors seems to be that the grey man Biden was needed because it took a centrist to unite the broadest possible layer of voters against Trump. Someone who was likeable, wouldn’t piss people off, a grown up, and the book drives home that this is who Biden is again and again, as he gets lucky break after lucky break. But it hardly scratches the deeply anti-democratic, anti-socialist layers of the Democratic Party’s leaders, who put enormous pressure on everyone and everything to fall in behind the safe centrist and stop Sanders. That anti-socialist drive is precisely what created the space for a Biden.

Another world was possible - no centrist but someone who could reach into Trump’s base of angry working class people and mobilise them against zero hour contracts, crap wages, non-existent benefits. The authors in their thoroughly dismissive tone miss this entirely. In that they are little different to those who recycled truisms about how Trump would never be the nominee, would never be President etc etc. Disappointing lack of reflection and insight from the authors. But a decent yarn nonetheless.

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  • Robert Smith
  • 09-04-2021

Engaging but limited

This is a very easy listen and an engaging one but I feel it misses the extraordinary nature of the Trump presidency. There is exhaustive and at times exhausting coverage of the Democratic primaries but very little on the main race or the incumbent. The post-election period doesn't really get a look in and you are left with a portrait of a flawed campaign winning an election that it probably shouldn't have won. But, to me this misses out the figure that made this election different, Trump. At one point the author states that Biden was carrying the hopes of millions of Americans. No. He was carrying the hopes of millions around the world. It was more important than just a race for the United States presidency. In missing what made Trump different as a political leader we get an engaging story about process but one that lacks wider context. The narration is excellent.

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