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172 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Insight into a President's Life
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...
Published on September 21, 2010 by Cory Geurts

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting
Always interesting to see notes made by a president as they happened.
Would love to see the full set of notes/diary that is at his 'museum'

This book really seemed to be about settling some issues though and really stuck on a few things...many other important things were happening and I wanted to see those things.

Lot on Israel..lots. He is hell...
Published on May 30, 2011 by Reader Bob


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172 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Insight into a President's Life, September 21, 2010
By 
Cory Geurts (Portland, Oregon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: White House Diary (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. Rather than being a distraction, these italicized notes are quite helpful and serve as a kind of a guide throughout the book. A good example of this mentioned by Carter is the 1978 FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), which Congress passed and which Carter supported, but which was circumvented by President Bush in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.

Carter has been a prolific writer; many of his books have been topical, and a handful of them are quite forgettable. For those who want to understand Jimmy Carter and his presidency, I recommend four of his books: "Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President," his presidential memoir; "An Hour Before Daylight : Memoirs of a Rural Boyhood," which focuses on his family and upbringing; "Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope," which covers his post-presidential activities and the Carter Center's work; and this book, "White House Dairy," not only for it's intimate look at the life of a president, but also because of the correlations made in this book between the events of Carter's presidency and those of today.

5 of 5 stars: Entirely new material, unique perspective, well written and edited, appropriate length, and good presentation.
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77 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Read (And Some Thoughts On Negative "Reviews"), October 5, 2010
This review is from: White House Diary (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.

2) The subject matter itself, with its broad scope of well-known figures and behind-the-scenes details, makes this the kind of insightful "tell all" that an adult won't be ashamed to read. :) Indeed, there is much to be culled about human nature, leadership, and negotiating from Carter's experiences.

3) The author is bold and frank enough to highlight his mistakes, shortcomings, and painful lessons. In this way, there is no pretense or vanity which might isolate the reader from the protagonist's journey. In fact, one feels like they are "in the thick of it" with the president; sharing the same experience and learning the same lessons.

4) This is a book that could have been dry and self-important. Instead, it reads like an elegant adventure through the halls of Washington power and over the world stage of public opinion. Engrossing.

No book is perfect but I'm giving "White House Diary" a solid four stars. It's worth your money and a terrific read.

J. Coleman
Actor/Writer
[...]
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carter: Maybe not as we remember him, October 22, 2010
By 
David A. Chase (Bartlett, TN USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: White House Diary (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must read" for political junkies . . ., October 2, 2010
This review is from: White House Diary (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
4.0 out of 5 stars much better than I expected, October 26, 2010
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This review is from: White House Diary (Hardcover)
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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and well-timed, October 27, 2010
This review is from: White House Diary (Kindle Edition)
An insightful piece given the current election. Many of the very issues we're voting on in November go back to the time of the Carter administration. Wish all of the presidents released a diary so that we could really see what prompted their actions when other members of their party (or their opposition) are/were speaking for them.

Will be interesting to compare this book with George W. new piece.
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37 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Former President Jimmy Carter's America, September 27, 2010
By 
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This review is from: White House Diary (Hardcover)
In 1977 America elected Jimmy Carter, former democratic Governor of Georgia, president for 4 years. He narrowly beat republican president Gerald Ford who was finishing out the term of disgraced Richard Nixon. Carter and his attractive wife Rosalyn experienced a tumultuous 4 years. I remember those years well. Their southern hospitality, casual lifestyle, dedication to studying difficult problems nationally and globally are well known to seniors but not to younger generations.

This is Carter's 26th. book. I appreciated this effort toward understanding the why and how he approached problems. The diary entries he chose to include cover more than 500 pages. His preface, chronology, commentaries on many entries that are relevant today, comments on the aftermath of his presidency and acknowledgments plus the index are organized, well thought out and focused.

Remember the Panama Canal treaty that caused so much commotion? Brother Billy who made deals with Libya, the hostage crisis and failed rescue mission that ruined Carter's final year in the White House? Following the 4 tumultuous years via diary entries is illuminating. I did get stressed out reading the dozens of entries during meetings between Sadat and Begin trying to resolve the middle east conflicts still of concern today.

For independent voters such as I, who choose to vote intelligently in local, state, and national elections, I urge you to read this honest effort by Carter in its entirety (and between the lines). Keep an open mind. Remember there were no cable news stations nor internet then but reporters kept heat on Carter and his administration and headlines were relentless in mostly disparaging articles. These diary entries provide balance, surprises, and insights.

You'll discover entries that make for a lively conversation among all ages. Don't knock the book until you read it please. The Carter family are proud southerners as well as humanitarians and people of faith. Politics aside, being president is the toughest job in the world. Be careful who you vote for.

Carter is now in his 86th. year. We can be proud of him and of Rosalyn for their lives of faith, optimism, and humanitarian efforts. They continue to live and learn, and we can learn a few things from them! Read his "afterword" and you might appreciate the Carters more.

For more enlightenment on the Carter years, I recommend chef Henry Haller's "The White House Family cookbook", one of my favorite American history books. The section on the Carter family is fun and favorable.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Hero, October 22, 2010
By 
This review is from: White House Diary (Hardcover)
I didn't like Carter when he was President. However, since he left office, he has won me over with his books and by his principled stance on issues that are considered off-limits by the moneyed and political elite. Carter has not allowed political pressure and moneyed influences to prevent him from revealing facts that the powers-that-be are usually successful at squashing. I am particularly impressed with Carter's willingness to tell the truth when it comes to US-Israeli policy. He's not up for sale nor is he a new-age Christian Dispensationalists required to swear blind allegiance to a foreign power run by extremists.
Carter is a man of courage, honor and cannot be bought by the AIPACs of this world.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Inside View, September 27, 2010
This review is from: White House Diary (Hardcover)
It appears some of the other reviewers wish to rate the Carter Presidency rather than the book. In my opinion, the book offers a unique perspective on historical events, some remembered, some not by me. I appreciate having the opportunity to see his candid reflections, brief as they may be. I recommend the book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What did Jimmy Carter really think of people?, November 30, 2010
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This review is from: White House Diary (Hardcover)
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.
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White House Diary
White House Diary by Jimmy Carter (Hardcover - September 20, 2010)
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