Book Review Duncan L.

Dieterly

White House Diary by Jimmy Carter

An extremely enlightening book of selected daily journal entries; made by the former thirty-ninth president, Jimmy Carter, when he was in office for four tumultuous years (1977-1981). Entries were selected by him to reflect the wide variety of issues he dealt with as president. In addition, he has provided updates and explanatory details to the issues that are still prominent today, providing a broader perspective for the reader. He dealt with a wide variety of issues from the SALT nuclear treaty to the Superfund Act to control hazardous waste. It is also an informal picture of his family’s life while in the White House. Jimmy Carter is a folksy religious family man who enjoys the outdoors and trout fishing. He was very focused on dealing with the major issues of the world including conducting the Camp David Accords that brokered the landmark peace pact between Egypt and Israel. The president and his family from Plains Georgia remained loyal to their home town even while living in Washington D.C. His family’s role in the presidency is reflected in the family social events scheduled and their vacations. Using his mother as in informal ambassador, his wife’s Rosalynn abilities to serve the country in a variety of state roles and dealing with his three young children’s education as well as his brother’s possible shady activities show their involvement during his term of office. His dedication to his ideals is shown by his balanced view of events that transpired. It was a difficult period that he dealt with it to the best of his abilities. His apparent lack of political savvy and cunning caused many of his problems. The controversial issues he resolved successfully ranged from the Panama Canal treaty to cancelling the B-1 bomber production. During his term, he established the Department of Energy and the Department of Education; the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, Iraq invaded Iran and the Shah of Iran was overthrown. President Carter also withdrew the nation from the Moscow Olympics in protest of Russia aggressive actions. He recognized his negative position with the press and tried unsuccessfully to improve it. He also mentions his embarrassing moments, like when he made an inappropriate joke at a state dinner party with President Portillo in Mexico, who was overly critical of the United States. President Carter struggled with resolving the Iran captives issue up until President Regan’s inauguration to no avail. The failure of the rescue operation, Eagle Claw, fell heavily on his shoulders. He refused to go to war to get the hostages back. They were released the day after he stepped down as president, thanks to his negotiations. The book is an excellent review of the period and the political players as seen in a candid way by 1

the president. Events that started in those years are still reverberating throughout our present international affairs. President Carter provides a perspective of the issues, politics and government during those trying years in simple and direct detail. This book is a readable analysis of or country’s history, by a president who cared, during his period in office. It is a critically important part of our American political history. President Jimmy Carter was a decent honest family man, swimming with sharks. Carter, Jimmy White House Diary, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux: New York, 2010. 570 pages. Rating: 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Type: Autobiography July 10, 2011

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