This is the twenty-fourth entry for this meme, the third at this blog site, suggested by Sheila@ One Persons Journey Through A World of Books. [The first 21 entries in the series were posted at the Dr. Bill's Book Bazaar, which has generally been on hiatus]
Last week, I wrote here: As I finished White House Diary by Jimmy Carter I realized that there were Ronald Reagan Diaries that picked up the story by the next president, continuing events from a different perspective. Especially when I realized there was a book edited by historian Douglas Brinkley that was available in a Kindle Edition - it had to be read next.
Well, in looking at the other books that Douglas Brinkley had written, I came across a 1998 book, entitled "The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House." He had set about to do a 3-volume biography on Carter, but discovered there was a more interesting story begging to be written; which he did. I was able to find a hard cover copy in good condition of this 13 year old book on Amazon for $6. Hard to pass up. So, I am now reading it along with the Reagan diaries on Kindle, in tandem… ;-)
Jimmy Carter isn't the first American president to become more popular after leaving the Oval Office than when he served in it; even Richard Nixon managed a semi-rehabilitation in the post-Watergate years. Yet perhaps no ex-president has reversed his fortunes so completely as Carter, whose approval rating has done nothing but improve since he lost his 1980 reelection bid. Many Americans admire Carter for his work building homes in the United States with the group Habitat for Humanity, but the 39th president is known and respected throughout the world for attempting to negotiate peace in trouble spots such as Haiti, North Korea, and the Middle East. "Carter," writes Douglas Brinkley, "has become a true citizen of the world." Noteworthy sections of this unauthorized biography (which benefits from lengthy interviews with its subject) include the story of how Carter worked relentlessly to undermine President Bush in the days leading up to the Persian Gulf War, as well as Carter's difficult relations with President Clinton. Also, Brinkley appreciates, and treats seriously, Carter's religious faith in a way many previous analysts have not. An excellent portrait of a complicated man. --John J. Miller