Grammy Award, Best Spoken Word Album, 2016
Jimmy Carter, 39th president, Nobel Peace Prize winner, international humanitarian, fisherman, reflects on his full and happy life with pride, humor, and a few second thoughts.
At 90, Jimmy Carter reflects on his public and private life with a frankness that is disarming. He adds detail and emotion about his youth in rural Georgia that he described in his magnificent An Hour Before Daylight. He discusses racism and the isolation of the Carters. He describes the brutality of the hazing regimen at Annapolis, how he nearly lost his life twice serving on submarines, and his amazing interview with Admiral Rickover. He describes the profound influence his mother had on him and how he admired his father even though he didn't emulate him. He admits that he decided to quit the navy and later enter politics without consulting his wife, Rosalynn, and how appalled he is in retrospect.
In A Full Life, Carter tells what he is proud of and what he might do differently. He discusses his regret at losing his reelection but how he and Rosalynn pushed on and made a new life and second and third rewarding careers. He is frank about the presidents who have succeeded him, world leaders, and his passions for the causes he cares most about, particularly the condition of women and the deprived people of the developing world.
This is a wise and moving look back from this remarkable man. Jimmy Carter has lived one of our great American lives - from rural obscurity to world fame, universal respect, and contentment. A Full Life is an extraordinary listen.
©2015 Jimmy Carter (P)2015 Simon & Schuster
Loved listening to President Carter read the book. I will say having a low country Carolina accent myself helped me understand his heavy southern accent. It also made me respect the great man he is.
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
Carter is a fascinating man. I have read a couple of his books, but this the first of his that is more more memoir than policy.
I listened to this as an audiobook and he narrates it himself. This feels like a bit of a wrap up, especially since his recent cancer diagnosis. There is not a sense of finality about it, but rather a wrapping up.
Carter gives a brief review of his life. If you did not know anything about him, this is a good place to start. He spends time talking about his presidency, but not too much. A Full Life is about his life in general including politics, but not exclusively politics.
If anything it is the political portions that are less interesting. Carter, like many experts, thinks he is right. So the last chapter where he is talking about his post presidency and how he has interacted in the world has more than several places where he directly says that he thinks the world would be better off if the presidents after him had followed his policy or had listened to his advice or had let him help more. In some cases he might be right, in some cases I think he was likely wrong. But those sections are few.
Part of what is always interesting to me about listening to first person narrative from people toward the end of their lives is what they talk about. Carter certainly talks about his legacy and the things he tried to do. But he also is proud of his kids, he adores his wife. He is proud of some of his positions on race and integration. He also spends times talking about how much he loves woodworking and furniture making (I had no idea). And how much his mother was involved in his politics and the legacy his father left.
The world has changed. Carter as a boy of 12 earned money by selling boiled peanuts. Most days he could earn as much as a field laborer if not more. And because he didn’t have a family to support he saved most of that money. He bought foreclosed homes as rental property investments and fixed them up himself. By the time he went to college he had a number of properties, but his father did not want to take care of them while he was at college so sold them while Carter was away.
I think Carter will probably be judged less harshly over time. He was the president in a difficult time. He did not make all good decisions, but he did leave not do as much damage as many want to blame him for. It is a brief book worth reading.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I saw an interview with Jimmy Carter on the PBS Newshour, and that interview triggered me to buy the book. I was amazed at how much Carter has done and been in his ninety years. He has been Governor of Georgia, President of the United States, a naval officer, a cotton and peanut farmer, philanthropist and author. He also has been a professor at Emory University for the past 33 years. Carter has written over 30 books and one of the books was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, he also was a Nobel Peace prize recipient.
In this book Carter tells about his formative year growing up on a farm in Georgia. He goes into depth about his years at the United States Naval Academy and his eleven years in the Navy.
In the book Carter describes the race problems growing up and living in the Deep South throughout his lifespan. He describes the harassment and ostracizing his family faced because he voted for integration. He goes into his time working his way through local and state politics in Georgia. He states Plains schools did not admit a black student until 1962, thirteen years after the United States Supreme Courts Brown V Board of Education decision.
Carter briefly goes into his time as President but spends most of the rest of the book about life since he left office. He provided lots of information on the Carter Center and his role as a gadfly. The book also contains some of his poems. Jimmy Carter narrated the book himself. I understand the print version also has pictures of some of his paintings.
Just finished Willie Nelson's new autobiography, which mentioned President Carter, and the former is dynamically narrated. So, I wasn't sure when I first started listening that the somewhat muffled speaking voice of President Carter would be something I could listen to for this entire book. But, that soon changed as the anecdotes, diary qoutes, and, yes, poems from the president revealed an earnestness, passion, intellect, and charm that I never knew President Carter possessed. What a remarkable story, and a tremendous listen for anyone who wants to cover 90 highly significant years in just a matter of several hours, making stops along the way in a rustic country childhood, the Naval Academy, a successful Naval officer employing his considerable engineering know-how, to savvy businessman, along with a lifetime commitment to faith, and, yes, poetry. Strongly recommend.
I am a big fan of Jimmy Carter so I really enjoyed hearing him give the background story of his life and how that lead him to become president and humanitarian.
Next I will have my 19 year old son hear President
Carter tell his story so that he may have hope in our system and in humanity.
Good man can come to be leaders!
If i may be so informal I like to say, thank you Jimmy.
gerrymorAuburn, AL My favorites are books read by the authors. Janis Ian is superb.
I enjoyed this book as I have all of his books. I am always amazed at how much he has accomplished. How wonderful that he has had such a happy marriage.
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