Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: Power and Human Rights, 1975–2020

Oxford Univ. Sept. 2022. 888p. ISBN 9780197581568. $39.95. HIST
Historian Godbold, using interviews, multiple presidential archival collections, newspaper resources, and relevant secondary literature, presents the sequel to his impressive, comprehensive dual biography Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter: The Georgia Years, 1924–1974. Largely favorable, defensive, in fact, over their uneven electioneering tactics, the author rightly describes the Carters as equal partners in the presidency and in their much longer, more substantive post-presidential lives as proponents of human rights, health, democracy, and social acceptance. Godbold characterizes Jimmy, whose sangfroid checks his temper, as a moralist, cerebral, introspective, reluctant to delegate, inflexible, exasperating, frugal, resilient, and empathetic. The very similar Rosalynn, a feminist pioneer of attending cabinet meetings and traveling solo overseas on behalf of the United States, may be even more intensely political than her partner, although equally willing to recognize that defeat is not destruction. Skilled enough in politics to enter the public sphere, the Carters have risen over snubs from their own party members to remain as beneficial social contributors.
VERDICT Like domestic advisor Stuart Eizenstat’s President Carter, this offering is similarly suitable for public and academic libraries, general readers, and historians.
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