Best Books About Jimmy Carter
Note: This page is still under construction. All links underlined in blue work as stated. Links in Black link to Amazon page with titles to multiple books on this President
An intimate biography of the thirty-ninth president explores the life, presidency, and post-presidential years of Jimmy Carter in light of the South and its deep feeling of inferiority and its equally deep Christianity.
It is not a stretch to argue that history will remember Jimmy Carter for his post-presidential works long after his tenure in the White House has been forgotten. But as Douglas Brinkley points out in this absorbing study, it took such presidential accomplishments as human rights advocacy, the Camp David Accords, and the Panama Canal Treaties to give Carter the international moral credibility to refashion himself as the global peacemaker. Although his is an unauthorized biography, Brinkley has had unique and intimate access to the former President–traveling with him to meet Simon Peres in Israel and Jean-Bertrand Arisitide in Haiti, spending hours interviewing him at home in Georgia, and being allowed exclusive access to the post-presidential papers, including Carter’s correspondence with fellow world leaders Mikhail Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping, Margaret Thatcher, and Oscar Arias. Drawing on this wealth of information, Brinkley’s book fully captures the ubiquitous Carter’s prickly personality and remarkable political life since 1980, including the complex relationships he has developed with such international pariahs as Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Hafez Assad, Kim Il Sung, and Yasir Arafat. In the end, Carter emerges as a formidable world statesman fueled by Christian zeal and a colossal ambition to make peace.
In An Hour Before Daylight, Jimmy Carter, bestselling author of Living Faith and Sources of Strength, recreates his Depression-era boyhood on a Georgia farm before the civil rights movement forever changed it and the country.
Keeping Faith is Jimmy Carter’s account of the satisfaction, frustration, and solitude that attend the man in the Oval Offce. Mr. Carter writes candidly about the crises that confronted him during his tenure as President of the United States and leader of the free world, from 1977 to 1981.
Evangelical Christianity and conservative politics are today seen as inseparable. But when Jimmy Carter, a Democrat and a born-again Christian, won the presidency in 1976, he owed his victory in part to American evangelicals, who responded to his open religiosity and his rejection of the moral bankruptcy of the Nixon Administration. Carter, running as a representative of the New South, articulated a progressive strand of American Christianity that championed liberal ideals, racial equality, and social justice—one that has almost been forgotten since.
At ninety, Jimmy Carter reflects on his public and private life with a frankness that is disarming. He adds detail and emotion about his youth in rural Georgia that he described in his magnificent An Hour Before Daylight. He writes about racism and the isolation of the Carters. He describes the brutality of the hazing regimen at Annapolis, and how he nearly lost his life twice serving on submarines and his amazing interview with Admiral Rickover. He describes the profound influence his mother had on him, and how he admired his father even though he didn’t emulate him. He admits that he decided to quit the Navy and later enter politics without consulting his wife, Rosalynn, and how appalled he is in retrospect.
A Government as Good as Its People presents sixty-two of the best and most notable public statements made by Jimmy Carter on his way to becoming president of the United States. Carter’s public pronouncements address all the major concerns of our time and collectively stand as a testament to his deeply held conviction that we still can, and must have “a government as good as its people.”
In a beautifully rendered portrait, Jimmy Carter remembers the Christmas days of his Plains boyhood — the simplicity of family and community gift-giving, his father’s eggnog, the children’s house decorations, the school Nativity pageant, the fireworks, Luke’s story of the birth of Christ, and the poignancy of his black neighbors’ poverty.Later, away at Annapolis, he always went home to Plains, and during his Navy years, when he and Rosalynn were raising their young family, they spent their Christmases together re-creating for their children the holiday festivities of their youth. Since the Carters returned home to Plains for good, they have always been there on Christmas Day, with only one exception in forty-eight years: In 1980, with Americans held hostage in Iran, Jimmy, Rosalynn, and Amy went by themselves to Camp David, where they felt lonely. Amy suggested that they invite the White House staff and their families to join them and to celebrate. Nowadays the Carters’ large family is still together at Christmastime, offering each other the gifts and the lifelong rituals that mark this day for them.With the novelist’s eye that enchanted readers of his memoir “An Hour Before Daylight,” Jimmy Carter has written another American classic, in the tradition of Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” and Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”
Hamilton Jordan has had a life full of personal struggles, from firsthand encounters with racial hatred in the Civil Rights-era South to exposure to Agent Orange as a civilian volunteer in Vietnam and his tumultuous years as the youngest chief of staff in presidential history, under Jimmy Carter. But a more powerful opponent has defined Jordan’s life — cancer. Three times in the last twenty years he has been diagnosed with the disease: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, melanoma, and prostate cancer. Each time, Jordan credits early detection, being well-informed, and keeping positive as the keys to his survival.
Reversing Course : Carter’s Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics, and the Failure of Reform by David Skidmore
In Reversing Course, David Skidmore argues that President Carter’s initial foreign policy agenda required a scaling back of U.S. commitments abroad, reflecting a decline in resources, as well as influence, in a world developing in ways necessarily reducing U.S. hegemony. By probing beneath the obvious and carefully sifting the abundant but poorly understood evidence, Skidmore finds at the root of Carter’s failed effort an irresistible pressure to reverse a liberal foreign-policy agenda in order to address the effect at home of well-organized conservative criticism. For Skidmore, Carter’s course “reversed” toward a traditional containment strategy vis-a-vis the Soviet Union not because of Soviet intransigence or faulty idealism but because Cold War politics sold better in the polls.
The Carter Implosion critically examines the consequences of a U.S. President — instead of confronting problems outside the narrow context of partisan rhetoric–adopting a self-consciously amateur style of diplomacy and leadership. In particular, Spencer focuses on the enormous gulf between the Carter administration’s professed objectives and the tools it was willing to employ to achieve them. The author posits that the problem was not that President Carter proved too liberal or too conservative, but that he and his closest advisors lacked a sophisticated understanding of how nations behave. Because of his naivete, Carter’s promise of inaugurating a new age of American greatness disintegrated by 1980.
After the Nixon and Ford administrations, liberal Democrats hoped Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976 would restore the New Deal agenda in the White House. Instead, during four tumultuous years in office, Carter endorsed many of the fiscal and economic policies later espoused by his Republican successor, Ronald Reagan. But Carter also backed most New Deal social programs and, however reluctantly, pursued a traditional containment foreign policy.
“We are not alone in our worry about both the physical aspect of aging and the prejudice that exists toward the elderly, which is similar to racism or sexism. What makes it different is that the prejudice also exists among those of us who are either within this group or rapidly approaching it. When I have mentioned the title of this book to a few people, most of them responded, ‘Virtues? What could possibly be good about growing old?’ The most obvious answer, of course, is to consider the alternative to aging. But there are plenty of other good answers–many based on our personal experiences and observations. “
The former president’s personal tale of political intrigue and social conflict during his first campaign for public office. Iluminates the origins of his commitment to human rights and bears further witness to the accomplishments of an extraordinary man.