The first full-length biography of Jimmy Carter, the Georgia peanut farmer who became President of the United States and a Nobel Prize–winning humanitarian.
Drawing on fresh archival material and five years of extensive access to Carter and his entire family, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Alter tells the epic story of a complex man of faith and his improbable journey from barefoot boy to global icon. Growing up with black playmates in one of the meanest counties in the Jim Crow South, Carter is the only American president who essentially lived in three centuries: his early life on the farm in the 1920s without electricity or running water might as well have been in the 19th; he was connected—before, during, and after his presidency—to many of the major events and transformative social movements of the 20th; and his astonishingly active post-presidential life of service has inspired millions in the 21st.
Alter paints an intimate portrait of a flawed but underrated president of decency, vision, and peace. We learn how Carter evolved from a short, timid kid nicknamed “Peewee” into a stellar officer in Admiral Hyman Rickover's nuclear navy and an indefatigable born-again governor of Georgia; how—straddling two worlds—he miraculously advanced from obscure outsider to the presidency; how he failed politically amid the bad economy of the 1970s and the seizure of hostages in Iran but succeeded in forging peace between Israel and Egypt, protecting the environment as never before, moving the government from tokenism to diversity, setting a new global standard for human rights, and normalizing relations with China, which made possible the growth of the global economy. Throughout, he fulfilled his promise never to lie to the American people. After leaving office, Carter revolutionized the post-presidency with bold initiatives in global health, conflict resolution, and democracy-promotion all the while building houses for the poor in his mid-90s. This meticulously-researched and colorful account by a master story-teller will change our understanding of perhaps the most misunderstood president in American history.
Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, political analyst, documentary filmmaker, columnist, television producer, and radio host. A former senior editor at Newsweek, he is the author of three New York Times bestsellers: The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies (2013), The Promise: President Obama, Year One (2010) and The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope (2006), also one of the Times’s “Notable Books” of the year. Since 1996, Alter has been a contributing correspondent and political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. In 2019, he coproduced and codirected the HBO documentary, “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists.”