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White House Diary Hardcover – September 20, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1 edition (September 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374280991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374280994
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The snarl behind the toothy grin emerges in these acerbic entries culled from the 39th president's personal diary. Carter vents against everyone, from Congress ("disorganized juvenile delinquents"), to the press ("completely irresponsible and unnecessarily abusive") and the incoming Reaganauts ("group of jerks"). By contrast, he comes off as the principled, rational, speed-reading master of policy detail, with a cogent-to him-agenda of human rights, internationalism, and disarmament in foreign policy, and fiscal restraint, deregulation, and energy conservation at home. His account of the "national malaise" episode reveals a technocrat groping awkwardly toward a political vision. But the hectic, sketchy entries, annotated with after-the-fact elucidations, mainly show President Carter breasting the maelstrom of over-scheduling, mundane politics, and brother-Billy issues, while eruptions like the Iranian hostage crisis sneak up; the Sadat-Begin Camp David negotiations and other summits, where his leadership could be proactive and untrammeled, provoke his most involved and insightful passages. Carter's judgments will stir controversy: he tars Ted Kennedy with torpedoing his healthcare reforms and abetting Reagan's 1980 victory, and paints Israel ("obstinate") and its Prime Minister at the time, Menachem Begin, as the main obstacles to peace in the Middle East. His tart wit and cutting candor add flavor to a revealing portrait of presidential achievement and, especially, frustration. Illustrations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Fascinating...The pace gives a sense of what it is like to be president, and the entries contain blunt appraisals of the people with whom he dealt." —The New York Times

"Outstanding…Anyone seeking insight into the thirty-ninth president of the United States would do well to pick up [this] book." —The Christian Science Monitor

"A substantial contribution to [history]… a uniquely unfiltered look at what occupying the Oval Office day to day means." —Los Angeles Times

"[Carter’s] tart wit and cutting candor add flavor to a revealing portrait of presidential achievement."—Publishers Weekly


More About the Author

Jimmy Carter was born in Plains, Georgia, and served as thirty-ninth President of the United States. He and his wife, Rosalynn, founded The Carter Center, a nonprofit organization that prevents and resolves conflicts, enhances freedom and democracy, and improves health around the world. He is the author of numerous books, including Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, An Hour Before Daylight and Our Endangered Values. He received a "Best Spoken Word" Grammy Award for his recording of Our Endangered Values. All of President Carter's proceeds from this series will go to the Maranatha Baptist Church of Plains, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

173 of 196 people found the following review helpful By Cory Geurts on September 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was expecting this book to closely mirror President Carter's well-written and introspective presidential memoir, "Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President." While the underlying presidential timeline is obviously the same, the content in White House Dairy is entirely different.

In "Keeping Faith," President Carter explains that in writing his memoir, he frequently referenced his diary, and he often includes diary entries directly in the text. These selections compliment the narrative very well, and illustrate the thought process behind some of his decisions. However, the diary selections in "Keeping Faith" consist of just a sentence or two here or there. Also, "Keeping Faith" was written in 1982, so while still relevant, many of its discussions have become dated.

While "White House Diary" is not an unabridged copy of every single diary entry, it does provide thorough, comprehensive coverage of Carter's presidency. I don't know of any other modern US president who has given us this level of access to their private thoughts and feelings. The writing style is classic Jimmy Carter: intelligent yet easy to read, slightly stiff yet completely honest. This hardcover book's layout and quality are top-notch, including dozens of black & white photos; some familiar, some that I don't recall ever having seen.

The text is organized in an intuitive manner. Diary entries comprise the majority of the text, which is printed in standard font. Notes about the diary passages are indicated by italics, and are very helpful. This is where Carter ties in relevant personal thoughts, past and present leaders and political players, and current events.
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81 of 90 people found the following review helpful By J. Coleman on October 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you're considering buying this book, you're likely beguiled by some of the suspicious, one star reviews here on Amazon. I'd like to address this before I continue with my own review.

The latest tactic from conservative extremists is to criticize and demean anyone who has a differing political bent. It's a sad and distasteful way to represent the proud party of Lincoln; himself a gentleman and free thinker. In the spirit of free speech and intelligent discourse, there is certainly a place to argue the merits and deficiencies of our leaders. But a book review of any merit will focus on matters of writing style, content, and narrative; that's why it's called a "book review" and not a "cable news debate". Further, it lacks a fair and balanced sense of integrity if one criticizes a book they have never read. The lack of genuine content in these reviews makes this fact embarrassingly obvious. And, really, intelligent people of any political stripe deserve more than a bizarre rant.

My advice as a fellow reader and consumer is to ignore BOTH five-star reviews as well as those with a negative agenda and pay special attention to those in between. I often find excellent feedback there; the result of fair and vigorous assessment. Kudos are given where due and appropriately backed. Similarly, weaknesses are addressed without sentimentality or reservation.

Here's what I like about Carter's writing:

1) It's simple, concise, and nicely crafted. Only meaningful details and descriptions make their way into the author's prose. He's not flowery. He's not sparse. It's the right balance which makes for an accessible and engaging read.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David A. Chase on October 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
President Carter's latest book, White House Diary, is an rare look into the daily operations of the White House and Presidential Management Style. Any student of the Presidency should read this book with an open mind, as rare as that may be today. Carter simply presents his daily diary entries, no edits, no deletions. For many entries he includes updates and historic perspective. Should give everyone a better understanding of the unique challenges a President faces each day he/she's in office.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Clark on October 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Let me begin by saying that this will be a review of the book, not of the president. I was not around when Carter was president, so I found this book fascinating as to what our country was like and the problems it faced during those 4 years. I love politics, and I especially enjoyed reading "behind the scenes" into a President's life and everything that he went through. What makes this book so important is how relevant it is to today's world. I was shocked to see so many parallels to our current political system. Jimmy Carter presents a strong message for everyone to work together in order to make progress on serious problems that we face.

Overall, whether you like Jimmy Carter or not, this is a must read book for anyone concerned about partisan politics and the damage that being divided causes our country. This book makes me want to learn more about Jimmy Carter and the late 1970's in America.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Laura E. Nicol on October 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was impressed by three things:
1. The incredible work load in the day-to-day job
2. The Camp David Accords
3. How many problems of Carter's term still exist
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