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Here is the edited, annotated diary of President Jimmy Carter - filled with insights into his presidency, his relationships with friends and foes, and his lasting impact on issues that still preoccupy America and the world. Each day during his presidency, Jimmy Carter made several entries in a private diary, recording his thoughts, impressions, delights, and frustrations. Here is the edited, annotated diary of President Jimmy Carter - filled with insights into his presidency, his relationships with friends and foes, and his lasting impact on issues that still preoccupy America and the world. Each day during his presidency, Jimmy Carter made several entries in a private diary, recording his thoughts, impressions, delights, and frustrations. He offered unvarnished assessments of cabinet members, congressmen, and foreign leaders; he narrated the progress of secret negotiations, such as those that led to the Camp David Accords. When his four-year term came to an end in early 1981, the diary amounted to more than 5,000 pages. But this extraordinary document has never been made public - until now. By carefully selecting the most illuminating and relevant entries, Carter has provided us with an astonishingly intimate view of his presidency. Day by day, we see his forceful advocacy for nuclear containment, sustainable energy, human rights, and peace in the Middle East. We witness his interactions with such complex personalities as Ted Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Joe Biden, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin. We get the inside story of his so-called "malaise speech", his bruising battle for the 1980 Democratic nomination, and the Iranian hostage crisis. Remarkably, we also get Carter's retrospective comments on these topics and more: 30 years after the fact, he has annotated the diary with his candid reflections on the people and events that shaped his presidency, and on the many lessons learned. Carter is now widely seen as one of the truly wise men of our time. Offering an unprecedented look at both the man and his tenure, this fascinating book will stand as a unique contribution to the history of the American presidency.


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Here is the edited, annotated diary of President Jimmy Carter - filled with insights into his presidency, his relationships with friends and foes, and his lasting impact on issues that still preoccupy America and the world. Each day during his presidency, Jimmy Carter made several entries in a private diary, recording his thoughts, impressions, delights, and frustrations. Here is the edited, annotated diary of President Jimmy Carter - filled with insights into his presidency, his relationships with friends and foes, and his lasting impact on issues that still preoccupy America and the world. Each day during his presidency, Jimmy Carter made several entries in a private diary, recording his thoughts, impressions, delights, and frustrations. He offered unvarnished assessments of cabinet members, congressmen, and foreign leaders; he narrated the progress of secret negotiations, such as those that led to the Camp David Accords. When his four-year term came to an end in early 1981, the diary amounted to more than 5,000 pages. But this extraordinary document has never been made public - until now. By carefully selecting the most illuminating and relevant entries, Carter has provided us with an astonishingly intimate view of his presidency. Day by day, we see his forceful advocacy for nuclear containment, sustainable energy, human rights, and peace in the Middle East. We witness his interactions with such complex personalities as Ted Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Joe Biden, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin. We get the inside story of his so-called "malaise speech", his bruising battle for the 1980 Democratic nomination, and the Iranian hostage crisis. Remarkably, we also get Carter's retrospective comments on these topics and more: 30 years after the fact, he has annotated the diary with his candid reflections on the people and events that shaped his presidency, and on the many lessons learned. Carter is now widely seen as one of the truly wise men of our time. Offering an unprecedented look at both the man and his tenure, this fascinating book will stand as a unique contribution to the history of the American presidency.

59 review for White House Diary

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”A scholarly assessment after I left office showed that I had the most unfavorable press coverage of the century; with a net of negative news stories every month except for my first one, after my family and I walked down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. Despite frequent news conferences and a concerted effort to meet privately in the White House with all the key reporters and media executives, I was never able to turn them around. We finally decided to accept the situation and plow ahead ”A scholarly assessment after I left office showed that I had the most unfavorable press coverage of the century; with a net of negative news stories every month except for my first one, after my family and I walked down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. Despite frequent news conferences and a concerted effort to meet privately in the White House with all the key reporters and media executives, I was never able to turn them around. We finally decided to accept the situation and plow ahead with our programs.” I wonder if Jimmy Carter had been James Carter would his political career had been better or would it have never existed at all. Though it was Jimmy Carter that the American public wanted as a balm for the abrasions left by Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon; it was James Carter maybe they wished they’d had when multiple things start to unravel. He was a true outsider to the Washington Beltway. He wanted to do things differently than previous presidents and soon discovered he was burning through political capital for the most inane things. He did not go to parties or hobnob with politicians outside of the White House. He didn’t go to the very popular correspondence dinner that presidents have been such a hit at since they started attending. He saw it as silly and the reporters did not. He was elected because he was a pious man, but that fact became a source of irritation to the press corp even though he was very careful to not let his personal beliefs spill into his politics. We now live in an age of counter balancing biased news sources. In those days there wasn’t a twenty-four hour news cycle with heavy weights like CNN, FOX NEWS, and MSNBC putting their particular spin on any political news story. Every politician now can find a friendly ear with the press, well maybe not Anthony Weiner, but then I say that, and I just saw him on Bill Maher the other night. An MSNBC would have been invaluable to Jimmy Carter back in 1980. Carter is perceived as weak and inept by more than just Republicans. Even Democrats make excuses for him by talking about all that he did AFTER he was president. The reason why I read this book was to settle some questions I had about his presidency. I was just beginning to notice world events or lets say events outside of my own small home patch of Kansas in 1976. I was more aware, but made most aware when I discovered that we weren’t going to the Olympics in Moscow (which my family always watched the olympic games), and of course the hostage crisis in Iran. Camp David Accords. Carter’s primary achievement. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt on the left and Menachem Begin Prime Minister of Israel on the right. Carter had many moments when he wanted to strangle Begin during the process, but he understood the pressures he was under from back home as well. So Carter before his administration became mired in many events beyond his control established two new cabinet positions: Education and Energy. Ronald Reagan while campaigning in 1980 insisted he would abolish the Department of Education. The current Secretary of the Department of Education is Arne Duncan so...exactly…Reagan’s insistent promise didn’t ever happen. Carter established an energy policy which included price controls, new technology, and conservation. He had solar panels installed on the White House which Reagan with much fanfare had removed. Baffling…I know. Carter negotiated the SALT II Treaty with the Soviet Union to reduce the number of nuclear weapons. He negotiated the Camp David Accords that lead to peace (well pretty much) in that region for thirty years and also the Panama treaties which eventually returned The Canal to Panama. Here is one that I didn’t know. ”I worked assiduously throughout my tenure to control the national debt, with some success. The best yardstick for measuring the debt is to calculate the total national debt as a percentage of gross domestic product. The year I left office, this debt-to-GDP ratio was 32.5 percent, the lowest it has been at any time since World War II. Under Ronald Reagan it increased to 53.1 percent; after the end of George W. Bush’s term, the ratio was 83.4 percent. The accumulated debt for fiscal year 2009 is thirteen times greater than in 1980 and is projected to be 100 percent of GDP in 2011.” I remember having nightmares about Ayatollah Khomeini, very powerful ones that still sometime intrude into my dreams today whenever Iran makes the news. In 1979 there was a cascade of things that pretty much assured that Jimmy Carter was going to be a one term president. Lets start with the Iranian Revolution which sent the U.S. supported Shah of Iran fleeing for his life. Under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini oil production from Iran plummeted mainly because of the destabilization of the country and the fact that foreign oil field workers had to leave the country. This bobble in production made OPEC countries very rich, but caused a worldwide energy crisis that was made worse by panic. This was followed by the Iran-Iraq War which took Iraq oil production out of the equation creating another large perceived shortage. Saudi Arabia is encouraged to increase their production. Frankly there was plenty of oil located in other countries to overcome the shortages from Iraq and Iran, but profits were booming and it does take some time to increase production. Soviet Tank Graveyard in Afghanistan In December of 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. This was a nine year war that drained resources from the Soviet Union and cost them political clout with the world. In the end they had to leave without ever fully subduing the country. The world of course took note of this colossal failure and the lack of success by the Soviets insured that no one else would ever be naive enough to invade Afghanistan again. Wait...no...can’t be...folks you are not going to believe this, but President George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan in 2001. But this time it was going to be different right? Because of the invasion of Afghanistan Carter made the decision to boycott the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. He also funneled Soviet made weapons, readily available all over the world, to the “rebels” in Afghanistan. In the 2000s U.S. soldiers took casualties from these very same weapons. On November 4th, 1979 the US embassy in Iran was stormed by dissidents and fifty-two American hostages were taken. They were held for 444 days. I still remember Walter Cronkite ending his newscast with the latest, ever increasing, count of how many days they had been held captive. We do not negotiate with terrorists. It is a great policy and one that I feel gives Americans around the world a certain level of protection. I will not get into the Iran-Contra Affair as Carter did not go into it in his book, but the stone cold fact that the hostages were released within moments of Carter’s term ending and Reagan’s term beginning begs more than a few questions. US Embassy Hostages in Iran. Carter did attempt an ill fated mission to release the hostages. He authorized two spare helicopters for the mission and as he has often said if he had authorized one more helicopter he would have been elected to a second term. The sands of Iran’s desert clogged the engines and two helicopters became inoperable with a third receiving too much damage to continue. The mission became FUBAR. We had a similar circumstance, a flashback for many Americans, when the helicopter crashed during the mission to get Osama Bin Laden. We purposely had a spare because these very expensive helicopters seem to become very unreliable when we need them to be perfect. Carter also had to survive a primary challenge from Senator Edward Kennedy. Even though Kennedy did not win the nomination he did cast a lot of doubt with the liberal wing of the Democratic base on Carter’s ability to come up with solutions for the numerous issues that were facing the nation in the early 1980s. Three Mile Island disaster. As if all those issues were not enough the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster and the eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano also happened during his term. The diary entries are interesting. Carter bemoans the fact that he had 5,000 pages of diary entries; and yet, was only using about a ¼ of them to create this volume. He was very careful not to change entries to make himself look better, but he did allow himself to write further explanations after the diary entries. These were as fascinating as the original entries because he could expand a point to better explain what he was thinking and also show the benefits of many more decades of thought about what he wrote and the decisions he made. This book is going to have a very special place in my library because it represents the first presidential signature I’ve been able to acquire. Unfortunately I did not meet him to get this signature, but I did buy the book for the original list price. I can only believe that the bookseller was a Republican. :-) 4.25 Stars out of 5

  2. 5 out of 5

    Darryl

    Since I was only a small kid when Jimmy Carter was president, I found the book very interesting. You're basically reading his daily diary, so you have his personal insights on Congress, particular lawmakers (he and Teddy Kennedy did not get along at all) and issues, like the Panama Canal Treaty and Iranian Hostage Crisis. While he was an evangelical Christian, he was careful to separate religion from politics, and he worked as closely with Republicans as he did Democrats...a skill that has Since I was only a small kid when Jimmy Carter was president, I found the book very interesting. You're basically reading his daily diary, so you have his personal insights on Congress, particular lawmakers (he and Teddy Kennedy did not get along at all) and issues, like the Panama Canal Treaty and Iranian Hostage Crisis. While he was an evangelical Christian, he was careful to separate religion from politics, and he worked as closely with Republicans as he did Democrats...a skill that has unfortunately been lost in present-day Washington. He was a fiscal conservative who frequently clashed with liberals by vetoing appropriations bills that contained unnecessary spending measures. Unfortunately, many conservatives still regard his presidency as one of the worst in recent history. I, on the other hand, believe he accomplished more than our previous three presidents in just four years and should be regarded as one of the finest individuals to sit in the White House.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    A sensational view at four very interesting in US politics. I was born in the exact middle of the Carter time in the White House and while many of the events are but footnotes in the history books for me, Carter's White House Diaries bring the events to lifer again. I leave, having read this book, with a much greater understanding of January 20, 1977-January 20, 1981 and the events that helped build and destroy Carter's political pinnacle. I was pleasantly surprised that this book took names ansd A sensational view at four very interesting in US politics. I was born in the exact middle of the Carter time in the White House and while many of the events are but footnotes in the history books for me, Carter's White House Diaries bring the events to lifer again. I leave, having read this book, with a much greater understanding of January 20, 1977-January 20, 1981 and the events that helped build and destroy Carter's political pinnacle. I was pleasantly surprised that this book took names ansd put them through an honest sieve, not simply putting people on mountaintops. People like Ted Kennedy, Manachem Begin, Ronald Reagan, and Cy Vance have large targets painted on their backs and face strong criticism throughout the books. Carter slowly weaves the stories together in chronological order and shows howe these aforementioned players dug their own graves or built onto their own demises. While Carter may be known for his (mis)handling of the Iran Hostage Crisis, he did a great deal of other things that helped push forward a strong and successful term in office. Energy legislation, the Middle East Peace Agreement between Egypt and Israel, and pushes for more honesty in government. For having no federal political experience, Carter did a great deal with his four years in office. He was, of course, followed by one of the most conservative presidents ever to grace the inside of the Oval Office (through the two more recent presidents who hold that title both have been considered less than intellectually sound). Carter did not fade into the setting sun after serving in the White House and he continues to work hard to push his own agenda of serving others. Fantastic work, Mr. Carter.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Thomas

    This diary pretty much puts on display the reasons for Carter being a one-term president. The first 2-1/2 years, the entries are probably 95% related to foreign affairs. Then, when it's too late, there are some, but still not many, entries regarding the horrendous inflation, unemployment and interest rates. And even with his emphasis on foreign affairs, he still botches the Iran situation by allowing the Shah to come to the US for medical treatment, triggering the hostage crisis. He proves to be This diary pretty much puts on display the reasons for Carter being a one-term president. The first 2-1/2 years, the entries are probably 95% related to foreign affairs. Then, when it's too late, there are some, but still not many, entries regarding the horrendous inflation, unemployment and interest rates. And even with his emphasis on foreign affairs, he still botches the Iran situation by allowing the Shah to come to the US for medical treatment, triggering the hostage crisis. He proves to be apologetic regarding the country's history especially with Panama, and is very soft on USSR, which probably allowed them to invade Afghanistan without thinking much of US retribution. He is an unbelievable micro-manager, made clear in his insistence to read everything and personally make all administration decisions. Very poor manager - can't see the forest for the trees, and he's inspecting the underside of the bark on the trees. It is no wonder he was essentially a failure. At least in the afterward, he admits looking back and realizing that he micromanaged himself out of office. He was no doubt a very honest politician, probably never to be seen again.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erwin

    Fascinating. One of the most interesting books I've ever read. I've also read autobiographies of most recent presidents (bush, clinton, reagan, nixon). Absolutely fascinating to compare what each writes about. Regan writes mostly about who he's meeting for political benefit. Nixon writes almost exclusively about foreign policy. Yet Carter's writing (and the actions he documents) seem to have been almost entirely on a sustainable, responsible path for America and the planet. He was very diligent Fascinating. One of the most interesting books I've ever read. I've also read autobiographies of most recent presidents (bush, clinton, reagan, nixon). Absolutely fascinating to compare what each writes about. Regan writes mostly about who he's meeting for political benefit. Nixon writes almost exclusively about foreign policy. Yet Carter's writing (and the actions he documents) seem to have been almost entirely on a sustainable, responsible path for America and the planet. He was very diligent and detail oriented. Unfortunately, sustainable isn't what the American people want. The want fast food, get rich quick, famous for being famous, lowest common denominator culture/politics/economics... If democracy in america were to work, Carter would have been the model president. Unfortunately, the American system is more of a confidence game, somebody that "feels right" actually worked better. Sustainable in either case is still too early to call. Hostage crisis was a tragedy, but the media attention certainly magnified it beyond reason. If the embassy was simply blown up and everybody inside gone with it, history may have been much different.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sheila rood

    Was interesting for me to go back and read about events that I was too busy to care about. Between having babies and starting a dairy farm there wasn't much time or energy to even read a newspaper. Not much has changed in 30 years. We still have a mid East disagreement between Israel and the PLO, energy crisis,terrorism, and general discord in government. Actually things have gone down hill since the 70's. Good history lesson.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I listened to this as an audio book. President Carter's latest book, White House Diary, is a look into the daily operations of the White House and his Presidential Management Style. Carter simply presents his daily diary entries, no edits, no deletions. For many entries he includes updates and historic perspective. The original entries are read by a narrator with a generic American accent. The updates and commentary are read by President Carter himself; these notes are where Carter ties in I listened to this as an audio book. President Carter's latest book, White House Diary, is a look into the daily operations of the White House and his Presidential Management Style. Carter simply presents his daily diary entries, no edits, no deletions. For many entries he includes updates and historic perspective. The original entries are read by a narrator with a generic American accent. The updates and commentary are read by President Carter himself; these notes are where Carter ties in relevant personal thoughts, past and present leaders and political players, and current events (the notes are not a distraction and are quite helpful in providing perspective). On the one hand, it's very interesting reading/listening as each day's entry is essentially a raw data point in late 1970s history from the perspective of one of the major actors in that history. The subject matter itself, with its broad scope of well-known political and cultural figures and behind-the-scenes details on reoccurring themes of peace, human rights, and the environment, is fascinating. On the other hand, it’s l-o-n-g and detail-rich, which can get tedious. It’s a good commuter audio book as there are those mandatory breaks for work which help alleviate the negative effects of the length of the book and density of the information presented. Even as long as it is, the final product is very much abridged from the original diary entries. Only about a quarter of his entire diary made it into the book. President Carter states in the introduction that he culled the diary to present those issues which are still relevant today. He also included a few family related entries which help lighten the intensity of the book at times, and provide human insight into the man (it is wonderful to see how much he loves his wife, Roslyn). There are many interesting parts of the book. We get Carter's own view during critical events during his administration, e.g. there is a lot of detail regarding the negotiations of the Camp David Accords and regarding what Carter went through as the Iran hostage crisis continued to unfold. Throughout the Diary he is frank enough to not to cover up his mistakes, shortcomings, and painful lessons. On the other hand, as he comments in the afterword he finds it hard to accept criticism, and it shows in the book especially in the commentary sections where he frequently points out when later presidents repeal a law he worked for or ignored a problem he addressed. The book should give any reader a better understanding of the unique challenges a President faces each day he is in office as it highlights the incredible workload a President faces each day in office (especially when one remembers that the diary has been cut to ¼ its original size). This, in and of itself, is a valuable lesson. In the commentary sections, President Carter often referenced his Presidential memoir, Keeping Faith, which was written shortly after his Presidency (in 1982). He also describes writing it in the last section of the book which covers his actions and projects in the first months after leaving office. So I’ve now gotten that from that from the library as I’m curious as to how the memoir would be differently written than the diary. I’ve also ordered the Reagan diaries from the library to see Reagan’s perspective, if any, on some of the things Carter mentions in the last few months of his time in office during the transition (especially the occasion where he called Reagan and his staff "a bunch of jerks" -- it didn't seem all that unwarranted a comment from his perspective & I'm interested in seeing the other side).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    On page 342, Carter writes . . ."it's not easy for me to accept criticism, and to reassess my way of doing things, to admit my mistakes." This insight came to him on July 9, 1979, which may have been the problem with his Presidency, and is certainly the problem with this book. There are very few occasions (before the Afterword) where Carter looks at the positions he is taking at the time and reconsiders them in the light of later events. Since he rarely presents the reasons that may have On page 342, Carter writes . . ."it's not easy for me to accept criticism, and to reassess my way of doing things, to admit my mistakes." This insight came to him on July 9, 1979, which may have been the problem with his Presidency, and is certainly the problem with this book. There are very few occasions (before the Afterword) where Carter looks at the positions he is taking at the time and reconsiders them in the light of later events. Since he rarely presents the reasons that may have motivated people like Scoop Jackson, Frank Church and others to oppose him in the Senate, it gets a little frustrating as a read. He elides past decisions that were horrible at the time --- for example, the backing of the Khmer Rouge delegation to hold Cambodia's U.N. seat after their genocide was certainly known. Given his stress on human rights at the time, it was problematic then and remains so now. He is sour about nearly all of his successors in the office with the possible exception of Bush I. And there is Carter's chief fault if you are a diarist. He has no discernible sense of humor. So there's that. But once he gets to the Camp David accords, the book really does become riveting. Two things emerge in Carter's thinking that are surely controversial, although I can't remember seeing a great deal about either, at the time a since: (1) he was (and seems to be) anti-Israeli based upon what he presents as their intransigence --- he is particularly talking about Menachem Begin, but to some extent everyone with whom he deals is criticized, especially when he holds them up against Anwar Sadat. He concedes that Israel has meticulously observed the agreement for over thirty years insofar as Egypt is concerned, but remains sharply critical of the settlements on the West Bank, and Israel's routine attempts to extort concessions in American foreign policy. Begin certainly emerges from the diary as the single greatest force working against peace in the Middle East. I found it interesting that Robert Dallek had described President Nixon's view of Golda Meir in similar terms. (2) the role of Rosalynn Carter in the administration, given the later furor about Hillary Clinton. He makes no bones about the fact that she was his most important adviser. There is a lot of restrained bitchiness about Ted Kennedy, who seems to have deserved it. But only in the Afterword does Carter come to grips with the fact that while he had a vision of what he considered important when he campaigned, and throughout his Presidency (economic recovery, human rights and the environment) and in fact made notable achievements in at least two of these areas, he was never able to communicate his vision to the American people. Ronald Reagan, whose administration actually expanded the role of the federal government, increased our deficit, and engaged us in a series of illegal activities around the world, was far, far better at this kind of communication on his worst day than Carter was on his best. Recommended for political junkies.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Book Twenty-Four of my presidential challenge. Alternate Title: Jimmy Carter Got a Raw Deal I was born in the lame duck days of the Carter Presidency. I always had a vague sense that Jimmy Carter was a huge embarrassing failure without ever really knowing why. It was always Jimmy Carter...something, something...Iran...something, something...one term loser...something, something...thank God for Reagan. That's about as complicated as it went. "White House Diary" was a slightly edited version of Book Twenty-Four of my presidential challenge. Alternate Title: Jimmy Carter Got a Raw Deal I was born in the lame duck days of the Carter Presidency. I always had a vague sense that Jimmy Carter was a huge embarrassing failure without ever really knowing why. It was always Jimmy Carter...something, something...Iran...something, something...one term loser...something, something...thank God for Reagan. That's about as complicated as it went. "White House Diary" was a slightly edited version of Carter's diary he kept while at the White House with additional modern day commentary from Carter highlighting what he got right and wrong. An interesting way to go about it. I will say this about Carter, the man has no ego. His Presidency was a very rough experience on him and it takes a lot of courage to let the public see behind the curtain in this way. I will give Carter this: He fully realizes what the problems were of his administration. 1. He was too aloof and standoffish, especially with his own political party and the press. 2. He attempted to accomplish too many unpopular (but he still maintains) correct projects. (i.e. The Superfund, the Panama Canal Treaties, SALT talks, the Camp David Accords) 3. Due to the Camp David Accords he developed issues with the Jewish population that he never recovered from politically. 4. Because he focused on balancing the budget, this put him into conflict with the liberal base of his party. This emboldened Ted Kennedy to challenge Carter in the 1980 Democratic Presidential Party. This severely divided the party. 5. Speaking of that, Ted Kennedy was a dick. I have to say, I'm not loving the Kennedy's as I read more and more of these political biographies. 6. Along the same lines, Ronald Reagan was a great politician...and was also a dick and also probably committed treason by secretly getting Iran to not release the hostages before the election, insuring that he would beat Carter soundly in the 1980 election. Real classy Reagan. Ultimately, Carter comes across as a truly great man who was a completely naive politician with poor leadership skills but great negotiating skills and a strong desire for peace. For better or worse, I feel like any other President would have gone to war (at least a limited war) over American hostages in Iran. Instead, Carter negotiated for over a year with those bozos (although he did attempt one failed rescue that failed due to a freak accident). I wish Carter would have been given another term. Reagan set the country off in such an aggressive direction in terms of use of military force and foreign policy while ignoring domestic problems. No one cared more about all people (not just Americans) than Jimmy Carter. The lesson of his Presidency? Being a good person is not enough to make you a good President. Lyndon Johnson was a horrible person and he accomplished more for Civil Rights than any other President since Lincoln. Being a good President is having the right set of traits for the right time. America was ready for an actor, not an apostle.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    President Carter has written prolifically since leaving office over 30 years ago, but most of this volume was written while he was in the White House. The introduction and afterward put things in perspective as he qualifies some of the judgments made at the time the diary entries were recorded, and especially as he looks back self-critically to consider how he might have handled some things differently. He admits to not being a "natural politician," to having shunned Washington's social life in President Carter has written prolifically since leaving office over 30 years ago, but most of this volume was written while he was in the White House. The introduction and afterward put things in perspective as he qualifies some of the judgments made at the time the diary entries were recorded, and especially as he looks back self-critically to consider how he might have handled some things differently. He admits to not being a "natural politician," to having shunned Washington's social life in ways that hurt his reputation, and to failing to build a mutually trusting relationship with the press, which had become so cynical after Vietnam and Watergate. On the other hand, he still believes in most of what he tried to accomplish, and he explains convincingly that his administration accomplished far more than most people realize. He regrets that the presidents who followed him dismantled many of his achievements in the areas of conservation and the environment and working to keep the budget in balance. This is a book I can recommend to anyone as interested in American history as I am, and especially to anyone who wants to understand what took place in the late 1970s.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I will echo the view of other reviewers who found the writing a little thin. However, I still found this book very interesting and insightful. I was only coming of age when JC was POTUS, but I remember not liking him much. As one might expect when reading from his POV, I gained some sympathy for JC's intentions and gained some new found respect. I found it interesting that he was more fiscally conservative than many give him credit for. This explains why he had so much difficulty with a congress I will echo the view of other reviewers who found the writing a little thin. However, I still found this book very interesting and insightful. I was only coming of age when JC was POTUS, but I remember not liking him much. As one might expect when reading from his POV, I gained some sympathy for JC's intentions and gained some new found respect. I found it interesting that he was more fiscally conservative than many give him credit for. This explains why he had so much difficulty with a congress that was controlled by his own party. In recent years I have found Carter's views on Israel to be harsh. I think his views are colored by his dealings with Begin during the Camp David process. Now I better understand Carter's view, even if I don't agree with it. I also give Carter credit for giving us a largely unvarnished view of his opinions of prominent people. He didn't pull any punches, but he did credit his tormentors when they did something he thought was right. If you're a junky for presidential history (I am) then I recommend this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David Bales

    Exhaustive, shattering, exhilrating and sad, President Carter's diary of his years as president cover his excitement (and astonishment) at being the 39th president, his ambitious, wonky can-do attitude, his poor relations (and disgust toward) the press and the Congress, the Camp David Accords of 1978, (can anyone imagine Ronald Reagan spending eleven days in the woods with Begin and Sadat?) the problems with the economy, relations with the Soviet Union and China, (Carter recognized the People's Exhaustive, shattering, exhilrating and sad, President Carter's diary of his years as president cover his excitement (and astonishment) at being the 39th president, his ambitious, wonky can-do attitude, his poor relations (and disgust toward) the press and the Congress, the Camp David Accords of 1978, (can anyone imagine Ronald Reagan spending eleven days in the woods with Begin and Sadat?) the problems with the economy, relations with the Soviet Union and China, (Carter recognized the People's Republic) and many other interesting tidbits, his close relationship with Rosalynn and Amy and his mother Lillian). I admit, I cried a few times reading this book, particularly during the corrosive, long ordeal of the Iranian hostage saga and the election of 1980. Contrary to popular belief, Carter was often a very effective president, responsible for many achievements usually attributed to his successor. And he was a better overall man, father, leader, intellectual and American. Required reading for all American history nerds.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gerald Curtis

    The White House Diaries I am not normally interested in politics, but I wanted to read this personal account by Jimmy Carter to find out more the Camp David accord; his gas rationing “tightening-our-belts conservation; the Iranian hostage crisis; and why he had such a horrible rating in the media. It certainly explained all of that and much more. I listened to the audio version, about half of which was read by President Carter himself, often adding personal commentary to the diary entries, and The White House Diaries I am not normally interested in politics, but I wanted to read this personal account by Jimmy Carter to find out more the Camp David accord; his gas rationing “tightening-our-belts conservation; the Iranian hostage crisis; and why he had such a horrible rating in the media. It certainly explained all of that and much more. I listened to the audio version, about half of which was read by President Carter himself, often adding personal commentary to the diary entries, and comparing his situation as president to the current situations, so that was very interesting and I gained a great respect for him. There is no way I can say that I “enjoyed” this book, because 23 hours of daily entries, verbatim, often grew very tedious, as did the endless political squabbling that occupied so many of his entries, but I spread it out over several weeks, I learned a lot and I’m glad it endured it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Though at times a slow read, this diary is an open and honest look into the daily challenges, conflicts, triumphs, and regrets of a political leader who cared deeply for peace, human rights, and the the natural world. At times, I smiled with nostalgia hearing names and circumstances from a time I can just barely remember. At other times, I despaired as I listened to President Carter describe his struggle to provide affordable health care for all and to stand against the deep-pocketed lobbying Though at times a slow read, this diary is an open and honest look into the daily challenges, conflicts, triumphs, and regrets of a political leader who cared deeply for peace, human rights, and the the natural world. At times, I smiled with nostalgia hearing names and circumstances from a time I can just barely remember. At other times, I despaired as I listened to President Carter describe his struggle to provide affordable health care for all and to stand against the deep-pocketed lobbying interests that were even then buying D.C. Congressman by Congressman. Sigh. I miss having an intelligent man of sincere faith, one who is humble and willing to admit his own errors, in the Oval Office.

  15. 5 out of 5

    JoAnn Jordan

    This is a very frank and insightful book detailing what went on while Carter was president. There is a great deal of behind the scenes information and a sense of the challenges the president faces. It also gives some good background on the world affairs of that time. I enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to anyone interested in President Jimmy Carter or the life and duties of a chief executive.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Youssef Mahmoud

    للتو أنهيت الكتاب.. ممتع للغاية، وتفاجأت من صراحة كارتر في الكتاب.. بعض الآراء عن بعض الأشخاص والدول كانت مفاجأة بالنسبة لي! مما أعجبني هو التزامه بعدم تغيير ما ثبت حطؤه من آرائه مع توضيحه لذلك بخط مميز يُظهر أن تعقيبه ليس جزءا من مذكراته. العلاقات العائلية وكتاباته عن حياته الخاصة بما في ذلك ممارسته للركض والسباحة وغيرها من الرياضات.. كل هذا بدا لي ممتعًا.. وبشكل عام الكتاب يستحق القراءة..

  17. 4 out of 5

    Don Heiman

    I have read biographies about 30 American presidents. Of the more than 50 books I have read about our presidents, this was the most thought provoking and by far the best.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steven Yenzer

    Fascinating "behind-the-scenes" account of the Carter presidency. The contrast with Trump is very funny at times; Carter writes enthusiastically about the speed-reading course he and his family took early in his presidency. His desire to be the most prepared, most proficient, most deliberately "non-partisan" (i.e. centrist) is heartening, even though he often falls short.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rk Wild

    A Book Inspired by Nixon!, January 9, 2011 This review is from: White House Diary (Kindle Edition) "I began keeping this diary in part due to an offhand comment by Richard Nixon," President Carter states prior to the first journal entry marked January 20, 1977. The President goes on to write: "Rosalynn and I first met Nixon when we attended the National Governors' Conference in 1971. The president walked up to us at a White House reception, turned to Rosalynn, and asked, "Young lady, do you keep A Book Inspired by Nixon!, January 9, 2011 This review is from: White House Diary (Kindle Edition) "I began keeping this diary in part due to an offhand comment by Richard Nixon," President Carter states prior to the first journal entry marked January 20, 1977. The President goes on to write: "Rosalynn and I first met Nixon when we attended the National Governors' Conference in 1971. The president walked up to us at a White House reception, turned to Rosalynn, and asked, "Young lady, do you keep a diary?" Rosalynn replied, "No, sir." Nixon then said, "You'll be sorry!"" Of course, President Nixon could not have known in 1971 that the Carters would soon be occupying the White House. It is interesting, though, that President Carter took inspiration from the 1971 conversation to maintain his own journal, particularly given the role the Nixon White House tapes played in that President's downfall and public perception. So, okay, President Carter kept a journal. But why publish the thing? After all, it is quite long in this published version, even after culling 3/4ths of the original for the final edition. The President addresses his reasons in the Afterword: "This may be my last chance to offer an assessment of my time in the White House and to comment on how the United States and the world have changed since then. As I look back, I am proud of what we accomplished, and I hope this unadorned personal history--along with the notes I have added while reflecting on the entries in this diary--will provide readers with a better understanding of the achievements, frustrations, and disappointments I experienced during my term as president." It's pretty fascinating reading, too, especially as each day's entry is essentially a raw data point in late 1970s history from the perspective of one of the major actors in that history. Honest readers, predisposed to discrediting President Carter, may find they agree with rather a lot of his points. Likewise, fans of this Presidency will certainly disagree with some of his philosophies and problem-solving approaches. As such, the book demonstrates that President Carter, after 3-plus decades and numerous other books looking back on that Presidency, can still surprise. Note for Kindle readers: The formatting of the diary entries and the author's side notes and thoughts strongly mimic the printed version. And the entire subject matter index, minus the useless page numbers, is recreated here, along with a helpful note stating "The index that appeared in the print version of this title does not match the pages in your eBook. Please use the search function on your eReading device to search for terms of interest. For your reference, the terms that appear in the print index are listed below." However, there are some glaring problems with this eBook edition. First and foremost, the photos provided to paper readers are not also published here. Not a single one. Secondly, the cast of characters section titled "Senior Officials in My Administration" is presented as an image rather than the infinitely more useful searchable text. Why?!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Randy Auxier

    This is Jimmy Carter’s 26th book, and as with all the others, he says “all the words are my own.” These words were culled from his hand-written notes and from transcriptions of things he told his Dictaphone, several times a day in some cases. The book is lengthy but still contains only a third of the material that exists. Some will wish that the denominator were higher and the numerator constant. The book requires patience (not quite as much as Sadat needed in dealing with Begin). The diary is This is Jimmy Carter’s 26th book, and as with all the others, he says “all the words are my own.” These words were culled from his hand-written notes and from transcriptions of things he told his Dictaphone, several times a day in some cases. The book is lengthy but still contains only a third of the material that exists. Some will wish that the denominator were higher and the numerator constant. The book requires patience (not quite as much as Sadat needed in dealing with Begin). The diary is frank and largely uncensored, as Carter will prove by making available the complete transcripts and recordings in the near future. The format is chronological entries with frequent editorial clarification and updating after many entries. For those who can remember the events of 1977-1981, it is not just a trip down memory lane. It’s more like getting access to the secret thoughts of your own Boy Scout Leader. There are no great revelations, except that Jimmy finds a variety of celebrity visitors to the Whitehouse attractive –just what you would expect from a man who told Playboy he had lusted in his heart. Oh for the honesty of yesteryear. Early reviews focused on the surprising role of Ted Kennedy in blocking Carter’s comprehensive heath plan (it was not universal health insurance, but it was surely more than we had). The book bears out in convincing detail that sad story and the motives surrounding it. Yes, Ted, our healthcare hero, would rather have seen us do without care than give a victory to his fiscally conservative, socially moderate rival from the deep South. It really is fairly simple: the northern liberals didn’t like Carter very much and often didn’t support him, while Southern Republicans did like Carter and often supported him. That is sort of difficult to imagine these days, and it reminds one of how much Carter and Clinton moved the Dems to the political center, and how far to the Right the Republicans have gone. Figures like Howard Baker of Tennessee would have to be Democrats now, or be boiled in a tempestuous teapot. One realization that is difficult to evade is that the distinction between politics and governing used to be discernible. The book is timely, even if it tends to confirm some of our harsher judgments about Carter’s habits of leadership (as he admits), especially his penchant for micromanagement. What the press did to Carter parallels what is has tried to do to Obama, and like Carter, Obama has (perhaps) taken too many controversial issues to the same dance. But unlike Carter, there is now no Reagan waiting in the wings to capitalize on the sore toes left behind by Obama’s bamba. Scintillating reading this isn’t. But for the thoughtful student of politics, it’s probably the most important book of the year.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    The more I read about President Carter, the more impressed I am with his achievements, both in the White House and in his after-President life. Contrariwise, the more I read about President Reagan, the more I realize what a disaster his presidency was. President Reagan helped to usher in the hyper-partisan forces that had already been an undercurrent in American society for several years. Anyone who has heard me talk about President Reagan knows what I fan I have always been, but, facts are The more I read about President Carter, the more impressed I am with his achievements, both in the White House and in his after-President life. Contrariwise, the more I read about President Reagan, the more I realize what a disaster his presidency was. President Reagan helped to usher in the hyper-partisan forces that had already been an undercurrent in American society for several years. Anyone who has heard me talk about President Reagan knows what I fan I have always been, but, facts are facts, and once the shine has worn off, it's tough not to come to the conclusion that as history's horizon retreats, it will be increasingly difficult to judge Reagan in such glowing terms. President Carter, and to be fair, President Ford, had the unthankful tasks of cleaning up President Nixon's mess, the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the tail-end of OPEC's stagnation-inducing economic stranglehold, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and probably most-damning, the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Carter basically had the goodwill of Congress supporting him and he could almost always count on bi-partisanship to see his agenda through when it counted. Reagan on the other hand, had destroyed bipartisanship by the end of his first term. If Carter would have had a chance at a second term, our country would have traveled a very, very different trajectory. Imagine Carter, himself an evangelical Christian, working with the Moral Majority that supported Reagan. It wouldn't have happened. Carter would have diffused it. Perhaps the culture war and the movement to politics-as=social-issues would have been more watered down and less divisive in the future. Second, history now shows us that yes, Reagan played a role in the toppling of communism, but not nearly the decisive role that the USSR itself played in its own implosion. Carter advisors had long recognized that the USSR's economic and military situation was untenable. Russia experts had been saying for some time that Soviet influence across the globe was on the wane. The point is, while Carter - a Democrat! - always pursued a tight fiscal policy and refused to allow debt accumulation. He would never have allowed the massive escalation in the name of national security because he understood the undermining influence that the military-industrial complex was already having on American sovereignty. He recognized that a steady national security policy would have ultimately helped push the USSR over the cliff, without running up the national debt, which itself has put the US in a precarious position. Reagan oversaw the most massive federal spending since WWI and not seen since. This never would have happened under Carter.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Million

    Carter's diaries reinforce my perception of him: self-righteous, unable to handle criticism well, and not able to figure out how to be an effective President. The diaries are interesting: anyone who was at the highest level like he was is going to have numerous fascinating people and events to write about. I did not like how he structured the format though; he only mentioned what day of the week it was when an entry happened to fall on a Monday. I prefer knowing what day it was for each entry, Carter's diaries reinforce my perception of him: self-righteous, unable to handle criticism well, and not able to figure out how to be an effective President. The diaries are interesting: anyone who was at the highest level like he was is going to have numerous fascinating people and events to write about. I did not like how he structured the format though; he only mentioned what day of the week it was when an entry happened to fall on a Monday. I prefer knowing what day it was for each entry, instead of having to go back to see which one was the last Monday entry, and count from there. This was made more difficult because not every single Monday entry was included. Carter's assessments of many people were frank: Ford, Kissinger, Reagan, Ted Kennedy, Mondale, Begin, Sadat, Helmut Schmidt, Deng Xiaoping, Nixon, etc... As with other presidents' diaries, one gains a profound respect for the men who hold this office (regardless of political party or their individual performances) due to the never-ending litany of crises that they must navigate through. One entry was quite telling when Carter said that he "slept in until 6:30" one morning and had not been able to sleep that "late" in many months. I do not understand how any human can work so many hours, function at the highest level, be responsible for hundreds of millions of people around the globe, and do it all on little sleep. Carter attributes the biggest reason for his 1980 defeat at the hands of Reagan to the Iranian hostage crisis. I am not sure that, had he been able to successfully free the hostages, he would have beaten Reagan but no doubt that was the single biggest reason why Reagan won in a landslide. Carter did several other things that also contributed that stinging loss: failing to understand the importance of pork-barrel projects to individual members of Congress, pushing too much legislation at Congress continually, being too personally involved in minute details, having a poor relationship with the press (that definitely goes both ways), and being unable to realize that he could not run the country as he ran the state of Georgia. The stage was much bigger, and I think it took him too long to figure that out. Also, throughout the diary he has a tendency to pat himself on the back for things that he did well, from legislation being passes like the Panama Canal Treaty to more mundane things like running at a faster clip than some Army men in South Korea. Even though I am not a fan of Reagan, I still enjoyed reading his diaries much more as Reagan seemed to make them more personal and human than Carter at times did.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Richard Bartlett

    As an English immigrant to the US (I've been here ten years) I find US political history fascinating. I wouldn't call myself either a Democrat or a Republican and, having already read Reagan's diaries, I thought it would be interesting to read the diaries of the man who came before him. I know history (and the public in general) doesn't look on Carter's administration kindly, so I wondered if his diaries would redeem him. Unfortunately not. If you didn't like Carter before, you'll like him less As an English immigrant to the US (I've been here ten years) I find US political history fascinating. I wouldn't call myself either a Democrat or a Republican and, having already read Reagan's diaries, I thought it would be interesting to read the diaries of the man who came before him. I know history (and the public in general) doesn't look on Carter's administration kindly, so I wondered if his diaries would redeem him. Unfortunately not. If you didn't like Carter before, you'll like him less after reading this. The entries are pretty dry at first but they soon begin to get interesting. Carter comes across as being arrogant, critical of his staff and other world leaders (especially Israel's Begin) and frankly a little self-absorbed. He writes (in italicized notes, added at the time of publication) that his administration received the worst press coverage of the 20th century and clearly states throughout the entries that he feels it was unjustified. I can tell you, independently, I don't think it was. He even goes so far as to defend his brother for doing "nothing wrong" after it emerged he'd received money from Libya (a known supporter of terrorism) as a "loan." As President, especially one that employed family members as diplomats and representatives, if my brother had done that, I'd want to wring his neck. On top of this, throughout at least the first six months of 1980 (I'm at July 1st 1980 as I write this) he seems more interested in whipping Kennedy for the Democratic Presidential nomination and fly fishing at every opportunity (he makes a special point of mentioning the added bonus of being able to delay his return to Washington on the way home from a diplomatic trip so he can stop in Alaska to fish) - rather than taking action to rescue the hostages in Iran. In fact, the hostages get mentioned surprisingly infrequently, as though they were on the back burner until someone could figure out what to do about them. He makes very little mention of trying to get them released (other than the failed rescue attempt), nor does he express much frustration about the situation either. (Reagan, in his diaries, was particularly critical of Carter and his apparent inaction on this matter and now I can see why.) Most of the entries themselves are quite fascinating and a wonderful window into not just the past, but also the political mind of a president - but while I can say the book is great, the man (as President) was not.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    Former President Jimmy Carter, in his later years, has become somewhat of a grumbletonian, but I believe his motives — if not his execution — for improving the country during his one term were pure. This diary is excerpted from his daily journal while serving, and he conveniently is able to add updates about how his predecessors did away with this or that or how he was proven right on this issue or that. Only in an afterword does he admit that he might have done some things differently. Early in Former President Jimmy Carter, in his later years, has become somewhat of a grumbletonian, but I believe his motives — if not his execution — for improving the country during his one term were pure. This diary is excerpted from his daily journal while serving, and he conveniently is able to add updates about how his predecessors did away with this or that or how he was proven right on this issue or that. Only in an afterword does he admit that he might have done some things differently. Early in his journal, it is evident — as he would admit at the end — that he attempted too many things, micromanaged what he attempted, did not play well at politics (with the Beltway veterans) or care about the Washington social scene. He is honest about his dislike for the late Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson, for the press and for anything related to his successful predecessor, Ronald Reagan (to whom he gave zero credit for the end of the Cold War). On a broad range of subjects, he actually believed he could balance the federal budget by the end of his term (but added more bureaucracy with the Departments of Education and Energy); he saw little to worry about from Three Mile Island; seemed to have very little reaction to the Jonestown massacre; wanted to see more nuclear energy (unlike current Democrats); never had much good to say about Israel (though his public pronouncements were different); was confused and disappointed by Ted Kennedy's primary challenge in 1980; and, in the end, seemed not to mind losing. And he fished a lot — perhaps more than Obama plays golf. Although he is given credit for the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords, his diary entries reveal that many parts of the agreement actually never came to fruition. For people who lived through this era (which happened to coincide with my college years), it is practically a day-to-day history timeline. Looking back, it seems now a simpler time where political parties got along (the Democrats were in the majority then, not the minority). Yet, there were hostages in Iran, soaring oil prices and high unemployment and inflation. Carter now is probably much more liberal than he was then, but, although I used my first presidential vote for Gerald Ford, he is probably the last Democrat presidential nominee I could consider voting for.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nathan DiBagno

    I had read Ronald Reagan’s Diary about his time in the White House earlier this year. I enjoy reading the news straight from the person in office without someone else editorializing. It adds a bit to their humanity, and you get to hear a little about their day-to-day life as individuals and then remember that this is history in the making. You really feel like you’re getting a front row seat. I learned a lot more from reading Carter’s diary, probably in large part because I was more familiar I had read Ronald Reagan’s Diary about his time in the White House earlier this year. I enjoy reading the news straight from the person in office without someone else editorializing. It adds a bit to their humanity, and you get to hear a little about their day-to-day life as individuals and then remember that this is history in the making. You really feel like you’re getting a front row seat. I learned a lot more from reading Carter’s diary, probably in large part because I was more familiar with Reagan’s time in office and his accomplishments. It was interesting to compare the areas in which politics and the nation have changed since then. Some things have changed a lot. The first couple of years he talks a lot about foreign policy and the day-to-day grind. It doesn’t sound very political at all; just his day-to-day tasks. Here are a few observations or thoughts I had throughout the book: 1. Throughout the diary that by today’s standards, Carter would be considered a conservative Democrat, or at least a very moderate Democrat. Here are several reasons I say that: -He talked a lot about cutting needless spending and projects. -He specifically said at one point that he felt more at home with conservative Republicans or conservative Democrats than liberals, even though liberals backed him and supported his policies more. -The much more liberal Ted Kennedy opposes him in the Democrat primary. -An adviser tells Carter that the Northern liberals are having a harder time with him because he’s from the South and a devout Christian. -He talked about the need to reform entitlements and Social Security. Although in some ways he seems conservative, his instincts and inclinations are still those of a Democrat, even by today’s standards. In a footnote, Carter said Social Security should be addressed today by increasing payments from wealthier people and maybe cutting benefits to wealthier people. This is the instinct of a Democrat, whereas a Republican would be more inclined to say to increase the retirement age. Nonetheless, it does show someone who actually pays attention to budgets. -He is overall pro-life and against abortion, but he says he didn’t plan to get in the way of Roe vs. Wade. To be honest, he didn’t seem to be that upset about abortion. 2. It occurred to me while reading the diary that we really haven’t had a truly liberal president until Barack Obama. Jimmy Carter would be a more conservative Democrat, whereas Bill Clinton would be a more moderate Democrat. From 1968 to 2008, there were only two Democrat presidents: Carter and Clinton. Clinton was a member of the “New Democrats,” a group of Democrats who didn’t necessarily want a smaller government but a more efficient government. Clinton passed DOMA, a strict welfare reform, a crime bill, and a free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. But enough about Bill Clinton. 3. Carter doesn’t talk much about economics or the domestic affairs compared to foreign affairs. I think it’s great that he was so knowledgeable about foreign affairs, but I have to wonder if people paid better attention back then to foreign affairs. It doesn’t seem to matter as much today. Also, Carter probably should have spoken about domestic issues, since inflation and the economy ended up being a big problem for him. At the end, he says that he enjoyed foreign talks more than domestic because he didn’t need as much Congressional approval for foreign affairs. 4. There was nowhere near the partisan anger that we have now. Gerald Ford and even Barry Goldwater supported Carter on his Panama Canal proposal. Carter specifically says that there wasn’t the same animosity and that the parties could often work together without fear of their bases betting too mad at them. A few other random interesting items: -Carter continued to teach the Bible during Sunday School and talked often about the Bible. It was heartwarming to hear a president (a Democrat no less) talk about preaching from John 4, Romans 8, Luke 9, and II Kings, and to talk about getting jewelry for his wife with Ecclesiastes 9:9 written on it. It was good to hear him suggest to a Communist leader that he should become a believer, and then also suggest that the leader offer more religious freedom. -Carter seemed very compassionate about the plight of the poor and of minorities who had been oppressed. He mentioned at one point that he was concerned about laws that seem to be harsher on drugs that poor people used more than drugs that rich people used. He thought the death penalty was more likely to be used against poor blacks than rice whites. And yet, he seems to get along very well with Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd, who had famously filibustered the Civil Rights Act about 15 years earlier and had been a KKK leader. Carter never uttered a word of concern regarding this fact about Byrd. Carter’s relationship with Byrd seemed to deteriorate as Byrd seemed to support Ted Kennedy in the Democrat primary. -He provided more detail about the details of the Camp David Accords and his work with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat than anything else in the diary. Carter strangely seems more frustrated with Israel than any of the surrounding countries in the Middle East that traditionally wanted to destroy Israel. He seems to like Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, but he continues to act as though it’s Begin that is being the most difficult one in working out a peace deal. At one point, he flat out says Israel is the the most obstinate country in the Middle East. And yet, it was Sadat, not Begin, who one day threatened to leave and give up the entire deal. Carter had to talk him out of leaving. Throughout the diary, Carter continues to talk about his frustration with Israel’s continued settlements in the West Bank. Yet he strangely leaves out the fact that Israel’s neighbors had actually tried to destroy it in the past few decades. Carter does mention at one point that it seems that the UN doesn’t seem to do anything other than condemn Israel, but then goes on to criticize Israel. It seems strange to me that someone who loves the Bible and has read the Old Testament doesn’t have a little more of a predisposition to see things from Israel’s point of view. It almost seems like he’s blind to the rampant antisemitism going on. -Despite this, there is a very touching moment when Carter decides to take Sadat and Begin to Gettysburg. While there, the three of them are solemnly looking over the battlefield. Begin begins to quote the Gettysburg Address -- and he quotes the words verbatim! -He complains a lot about the press. He sounds like President Donald Trump does today. He skipped the White House Correspondents Dinner, and he constantly criticizes the press and says they are untruthful and unfair. When the presidential election heats up against Ronald Reagan, he makes it sound like the press is being easy on Reagan and hard on him!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    I found this book a fascinating insight into the life of a President as my family is well aware because I have continually talked about it. As with the cables leaked by Wiki Leaks,the book is peppered with candid comments about fellow politicians and world leaders. I got a kick out of that as in my mind Jimmy Carter was the ultimate diplomat due to his excellent work with the Carter Center. "Pennsylvania congressmen sent a message that they were going to vote against all my bills unless we I found this book a fascinating insight into the life of a President as my family is well aware because I have continually talked about it. As with the cables leaked by Wiki Leaks,the book is peppered with candid comments about fellow politicians and world leaders. I got a kick out of that as in my mind Jimmy Carter was the ultimate diplomat due to his excellent work with the Carter Center. "Pennsylvania congressmen sent a message that they were going to vote against all my bills unless we appointed their choice for U.S. attorney in Philadelphia. I told then in a nice way to go to hell." The diary entries are printed as written with some clarifications, like last names, in brackets. Carter then inserted in italics comments written in the present day about some of the events described. In the Afterward, Carter mulls over this successes and failures and what he might have done differently to win re-election. One of the areas of difficulty he had was relations with the press despite various efforts to improve that relationship. "Editors and key reporters of "Time" magazine came to do a cover story on our foreign policy, and we had a very surprising argument. They wanted to paraphrase my replies to their questions, shift my reply to a different question, and still put quotation marks on them as though they came directly from me. They refused to back down until we threatened to release the entire transcript of the interview to the wire services." As Carter mentioned in the Afterward, there are many parallels between the issues and problems during his term in office with those faced by President Obama today as I noted often as I was reading. I kept hoping that President Obama has in fact read Carter's "Diary", it seemed like it would be helpful in many ways.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rob S

    100 years from now, historians will be confused by the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. Despite being painted by many conservatives as some weak spine Liberal, he's not that. However, he's not a social conservative, as would many people in his religion become in the Religious Right 1980s. Some would call Carter our first "Libertarian" President, but that too is also deceiving since modern day Libertarians would disown Carter for his stances on social issues such as health care alone. In other words, 100 years from now, historians will be confused by the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. Despite being painted by many conservatives as some weak spine Liberal, he's not that. However, he's not a social conservative, as would many people in his religion become in the Religious Right 1980s. Some would call Carter our first "Libertarian" President, but that too is also deceiving since modern day Libertarians would disown Carter for his stances on social issues such as health care alone. In other words, Carter is a confusing figure with a fascinating legacy and his diary of his Administration with notes from Carter himself at the time the book was written makes for a must-read. Carter dealt with a great deal of issues during his Presidency, some of his still plague Presidents today (Terrorism, the Middle East, problems in the automobile industry, deficits). On top of dealing with a number of complex issues, he dealt with a primary fight from Ted Kennedy and later against a general election fight against Ronald Reagan, who at the time had served as Governor of California. One could make an essay alone comparing President Carter's stances on issues and why he often felt the wrath of the Democratic Party Liberal wing and yet at times was also able to anger the Republicans in kind as well. Either way, Carter's diary is an honest read with descriptions about the individuals Carter deals with without changing a thing. Whether you like or don't like the man, this book is definitely worth reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sinead

    Overall I enjoyed this book. I have always had a soft spot for President Carter and I enjoyed reading his take on events as he progressed through his presidency. What struck me most was his intense disdain for the media and the similar problems that he encountered that President Obama now faces. I loved the fact that he added in commentary to parts of the diary entries to further explain or update about events/issues/people. This gave a real insight to his mind. Some have said that the book was Overall I enjoyed this book. I have always had a soft spot for President Carter and I enjoyed reading his take on events as he progressed through his presidency. What struck me most was his intense disdain for the media and the similar problems that he encountered that President Obama now faces. I loved the fact that he added in commentary to parts of the diary entries to further explain or update about events/issues/people. This gave a real insight to his mind. Some have said that the book was at times tedious. It's a diary and it goes through his day-to-day affairs. I didn't expect to be on the edge of my seat while reading it, instead I hoped to appreciate the time and issues that he faced/ It gives a great glimpse into the late 1970s and the state of America and the World. It was interesting for me to see how the Cold War played out in those years before Reagan and I also wanted to gain more insight to the Camp David Accords. I would recommend this book to anyone he wants to gain a greater understanding of the Carter Presidency, rather then someone who is looking for an autobiography.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Wetherington

    I was in my early 20's when Jimmy Carter was President and my feeling was that he was not a very good President. In fact, I had much more respect and admiration for him AFTER he left the White House due to his work with Habitat for Humanity and the status he attained as an elder statesman. That being said, reading his daily diary entries of his 4 years as President of the United States has given me a little bit better insight into what he was trying to (and, in many cases) accomplish. Carter I was in my early 20's when Jimmy Carter was President and my feeling was that he was not a very good President. In fact, I had much more respect and admiration for him AFTER he left the White House due to his work with Habitat for Humanity and the status he attained as an elder statesman. That being said, reading his daily diary entries of his 4 years as President of the United States has given me a little bit better insight into what he was trying to (and, in many cases) accomplish. Carter shows both his good and bad sides as a President and has the courage to address his shortcomings in some of his dealings with other elected and appointed officials and with foreign heads of state. The entries on his work and dealings with Begin and Sadat to attain the Camp David Accord were some of the most interesting to me. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the inner workings of the Carter presidency.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wcplanfi

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  32. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Nickell

  33. 5 out of 5

    Pete

  34. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Three stars because parts were real interesting, but it's really more a 2, 2 1/2. It drags, there's minutia, and sometimes President Carter comes across as someone who never takes blame. Really, just because it's a diary which mostly make the writer the center of the books universe. It just wasn't written well enough or edited enough. He sounds, well pompous. It heavily concentrates on events that aren't as important to me (like Israel - people are either going to believe he helped Israel and Three stars because parts were real interesting, but it's really more a 2, 2 1/2. It drags, there's minutia, and sometimes President Carter comes across as someone who never takes blame. Really, just because it's a diary which mostly make the writer the center of the books universe. It just wasn't written well enough or edited enough. He sounds, well pompous. It heavily concentrates on events that aren't as important to me (like Israel - people are either going to believe he helped Israel and isn't anti-Semitic, or not - this won't change anyone's minds) and skips things I was hoping to hear about. I have a lot of respect for President Carter and many of the things he's been doing, and this kinda lessened that respect sadly.

  35. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  36. 4 out of 5

    Robby Sumner

  37. 4 out of 5

    Sowmya

  38. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

  39. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  40. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  41. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  42. 5 out of 5

    Kat

  43. 5 out of 5

    Simon Ruddell

  44. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Weyer

  45. 4 out of 5

    Lillian

  46. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  47. 4 out of 5

    Janice

  48. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Gibbons

  49. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Kugler

  50. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

  51. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  52. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  53. 4 out of 5

    Joana

  54. 5 out of 5

    Tony Derricott

  55. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  56. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

  57. 4 out of 5

    Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

  58. 5 out of 5

    Terrence Turner

  59. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

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