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President Carter: The White House Years

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  257 ratings  ·  59 reviews
The definitive history of the Carter Administration from the man who participated in its surprising number of accomplishments―drawing on his extensive and never-before-seen notes.

Stuart Eizenstat was at Jimmy Carter’s side from his political rise in Georgia through four years in the White House, where he served as Chief Domestic Policy Adviser. He was directly involved in
Hardcover, 1024 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Thomas Dunne Books
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I have just completed reading “When the Center Held” by Donald Rumsfeld about the presidency of Gerald Ford. I chose to follow the book by the newest biography of Jimmy Carter “President Carter: The White House Years” by Stuart E. Eizenstat. I chose to read these two books to attempt to understand how the country attempted to heal after the Presidency of Richard Nixon and the Watergate Scandal. I think the country will need to heal and re-unite itself after the Trump presidency.

The book is well
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Stuart E. Eizenstat, St. Martin’s Press, and Thomas Dunne Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

The presidency of James Earl (Jimmy) Carter has been seen by many as a flop, or so it would seem as I entered reading this book. Many would point to a few key items, namely Iran’s Revolution and the dire energy crisis, pushing Carter to the realm of lame-duck for most of his tim
Bryan Craig
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book questions the notion that Carter was a complete failure as a president, and it is one of the best treatments of Carter's presidency. It's well-written with first-hand accounts, but also, thoughtful analysis. This book is between a memoir and a "life and times" book. Readers get a more balanced view of Carter's relations with staffers, cabinet members, Congressional, and foreign leaders. They learn more about how Carter approached a problem and his views on them, and readers get a large ...more
Randal White
It's well past time to give President Carter his due. This book sets out to do just that. Eizenstat has had an up close and personal relationship with Carter for decades. One would think that this would mean that he would only see the "good" in the President, but he also points out the flaws.
While Carter has been stuck with the "aw-shucks" depiction of his personality by the media, the truth is that he is a decent human being who cares deeply about the country. His fault was in taking on too mu
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
''When Roosevelt left office in 1909, he had protected 230 million acres of public land. When Carter left office in 1981, he had more than doubled the total amount of public land from Roosevelt and every president since''

This book is an inside account of the Carter's years analyzed by his top domestic adviser, Stuart Eizenstat (who also worked in the LBJ, Clinton and Obama's administrations).

I found the read sometimes challenging regarding chapters about energy policies, stagflation and the oil
Kevin. McKernan
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This account of Pres. Carter's years is not only well written but insightful. It provides a more than interesting account into an administration that came into office at a very critical time in history. The book itself shares accounts of how a Presidency functions
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, read-in-2018
Jimmy Carter's Chief Domestic Policy Advisor, Stuart Eizenstat, details the President's journey into politics and his four years in the White House. Eizenstat was with Carter every step of the way, through the energy crisis and the fight for a new energy policy, the crumbling economy, peace negotiations in the Middle East, cabinet shakeups, the Iran hostage crisis, and his downfall as a one-term president. Carter accomplished a lot during his tenure in the White House that has been mostly overlo ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it

Stuart Eizenstat’s “President Carter: The White House Years” was published four months ago. Eizenstat is an attorney, a former diplomat and was Jimmy Carter’s Chief Domestic Policy Adviser for four years. He previously worked as a junior aide to President Johnson and as a research director for the Humphrey presidential campaign. He later served as President Clinton’s Ambassador to the European Union and as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

Eizenstat’s hefty
Helga Cohen
President Carter: The White House Years is a definitive well-written account of President Carter’s four years in the White House. Eizenstat explains how Carter has been viewed by many as a failure as a president. Eizenstat does an excellent job in tracing these years from the energy crisis and a new energy policy, the economic crisis with rising inflation and interest rates-stagflation, and the Chrysler and New York bailout from bankruptcy, the peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt and the ...more
Cristie Underwood
Feb 08, 2018 marked it as kindle
I admit that before reading this book, most of the knowledge I had about President Carter was about his time after being President and having to do with his humanitarian work. This book laid out not only Carter’s wins and losses as President, but as Chief Domestic Policy Advisor. President Carter made some notoriously bad decisions, such as during the Iranian Hostage Crisis when Carter wanted to do the right and humane thing vs the political thing, which isolated him from Congress. I also had no ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book, by an important insider in the Carter White House, is by far the most authoritative account of the Carter presidency to date. Unlike other books (including my own) which focus on one part of the story, Stu Eizenstat gives an amazing picture of everything that was going on at the same time, from the Panama Canal Treaty to immigration rule changes to save Jewish and other Iranian minorities during and after the revolution, from military policy to human rights, this book captures the com ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stuart E. Eizenstat does a phenomenal job of painting a picture of the presidency of an unlikely president. Jimmy Carter was as politically maladroit as he was morally incorruptible. There were as many moments when I felt proud of his accomplishments as I was embarrassed by his blunders. However, Carter was, in four-years in office, an incredibly important executive. He elevated the role of the vice president; elevated the role of the first lady; brilliantly attacked stagflation (even though thi ...more
Judy Baker
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, biography
1976, American's bicentennial year, marked the first time that I voted. The choices were unusual: Gerald Ford, a Michigan representative turned un-elected Vice-President charged with the task of sweeping up after Watergate and Jimmy Carter, a one-term governor and peanut farmer from the state of Georgia, both men described as decent human beings. While it is doubtful that any Republican could have won at this time in history, Carter seems the unlikely choice, being a fiscally conservative Democr ...more
David Hines
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am now 47, and Jimmy Carter was the first president I really remember. With the passage of over 40 years, his term can now be considered in historical context, and this book, by one of his chief domestic policy advisors, is frank and balanced.

My view of President Carter has always been a man who did many good things, particularly in the areas of education, the environment, human rights, and energy policy, but who faltered badly on the economy, Democratic Party leadership, and dealing with the
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, presidents
What a treat to have such an in-depth look at a recent and often overlooked president. Certainly eye-opening and at times thrilling, as in the Camp David Accords and the Iran hostage crisis. Fascinating to see how Carter’s deeply principled character, steeped in his Christian faith, helped and hurt his ability to lead and inspire.

I’ve found that good presidential biographies show how Democratic presidents were less liberal and Republicans less conservative than their enduring myths. President C
Peter Ackerman
The author of President Carter: The White House Years, Stuart Eizenstat, had a front row seat to the rise to power for Jimmy Carter. Having linked up with the former President when he ran for Govenor of Georgia, Eizenstat continued to work for Carter through his presidency. Thus this non-fiction work provides an inside look at the White House as run in the one Carter Administration.

The book is well worth reading for various readers, fans of Presidential politics, history, or general biography. T
Jerry Pogan
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Everything you want to know about the Carter presidency and probably more....way more! This is a very comprehensive book covering every event and policy decision ever made during the Carter years and is really more detail than I care to read about but is probably of interest to those that are politically inclined. There is a lot of information I was unfamiliar with which I found interesting (to be honest the only things I remember from his presidency are long gas lines and the hostage crisis). T ...more
Rhonda Lomazow
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stuart Eizenstat was a witness to the Carter administration.He gives us a historical look at this time in our history from efforts at Middle East peace& other major decisions of Carter& his teams decision.These books that show us history being lived help us understand our past& the world we live in today due to their decisions,Thanks to NetGalley & St. Martins press for advance Galley, ...more
Chris Carson
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great read and an important update if the role President Carter played in the aftermath of Watergate and a bridge to the 80’s and President Reagan. A lot more was accomplished than popular retelling and Carter deserves credit - in the age of the Liar in Chief tRump - of having integrity and never lying to the American people.
Nate Horning
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A bit dry at times, but frankly this book teaches you an awful lot about what it means to serve in the White House and why Jimmy Carter, while a very decent and caring person, was probably not the person best suited for the position.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Lots of minutiae in this book. Even too much for me, a politics junkie.
Frank Stein
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is one of the better presidential biographies out there, because it combines in-depth research and extensive interviews along with the writer's own experience inside the administration. Stuart Eizenstat was a Harvard Law graduate and occasional Democratic party aide working in Atlanta when a friend told him he should meet a former two-term, little-known state senator who was running for governor in 1970. Jimmy Carter told Eizenstat that he "did not intend to lose" the governors race, and he ...more
Christopher Litsinger
This book was written by someone too close to the President with too Naked of an agenda. I hit "The speech contained virtually nothing on foreign policy and national security aside from a brief promise to “protect the integrity of Israel” that I slipped in. " and I rolled my eyes. I hit " I helped temper his unrealistic goal in early drafts of a worldwide elimination of all nuclear weapons, by adding as an “ultimate goal.”" and I shut the book and found a different biography of Carter to read.
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Quite interesting in parts, but not very well written. The book is based on Eizenstat's diary and notes he took during the administration but since he is not a writer by trade, the prose is often rather pedestrian, it would have been better if he had hired a co-writer. I can't even count the number of times he says "never before had any president.....and never since...." it gets rather repetitive.
Dr. Harold
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dr. Harold Goldmeier speaks for free to public forums about political and social policy matters. He teaches international university students in Israel courses in Business, Middle East Politics, Modern Zionism.


My sister lives in Atlanta and tells me former President Carter is held in high regard but not among Jews. To us, Carter is a chimera. Carter is rated by YouGov as the 10th most popular public figure and 23rd most famous. 5
Betsy Starks
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This very detailed accounting of the Carter presidency further verified my belief that electing someone to the highest office in our land who doesn’t have experience working with Congress and who eschews politics results in a disastrous administration. Yes, Carter did some good things for which he got little or no credit, but he took himself down in many ways - usually because he refused to play the political game.
Joseph J.
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Up front: I voted twice for Jimmy Carter, the first time with enthusiasm and the second, well, against Reagan. I headed the campus Dems going into his campaign, was offered a campaign job but turned it down to finish my degree. I have met Jimmy Carter at a fundraiser and at book signings. I greatly admire him while being frustrated by him and his one term. I really appreciated this volume. At times dense, as I expected from a policy wonk, the author's admiration and passion for his boss shines t ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I consider myself pretty well versed when it comes to 20th century American history, but Jimmy Carter's presidency always felt like a gap in my knowledge. Moreover, I had a lingering sense that the reputation the Carter administration developed over the years didn't quite match the historical record. Listening to some conservatives, you'd think Carter was a feckless "tax & spend" socialist. Yet, no less than Ted Kennedy challenged Carter in the 1980 primary from the left. Carter himself preached ...more
Susan Grodsky
I didn't read this entire monumental tome in five days. I read a very small part of it, just the section on the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, and not all of that.

I wouldn't have chosen this book on my own, but the organizer of my local Jewish Community Center book festival asked me to read it so I could advise her whether or not she should invite the author as a speaker.

Well, what did I learn?

Politics is an arena where you work, day after day, year after year, with people whom you don't like a
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: u-s-presidents
“Carter really is a decent person, and I think that decency was perhaps too strong” – Zbigniew Brzezinski

“That little son-of-a-bitch can’t handle a two-bit ayatollah. I’ll take my chances on Reagan” – 1980 voter

“I am not a great communicator” – Jimmy Carter

Since I write lengthy reviews of all the books I read, I sometimes begin to formulate my review in my head while I’m still reading the book. Such was the case here. There was so much I wanted to say about this book while reading, and sadly, a
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Stuart E. "Stu" Eizenstat is an American diplomat and attorney. He served as the United States Ambassador to the European Union from 1993 to 1996 and as the United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001.

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