cover image Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope

Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope

Jimmy Carter, . . Simon & Schuster, $26 (272pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-5880-4

Less a memoir than an extended brochure for his nonprofit institution, the Carter Center, President Carter's latest book ruminates on his work since leaving the Oval Office. With major programs in election monitoring, conflict negotiation and disease prevention and eradication, the center has been active in nearly 100 nations since its 1984 inception. Carter structures this book as a series of vignettes detailing his involvement with a specific nation or issue, from Haiti to schistosomiasis. While he does not hesitate to criticize American policy, those hoping for extensive political analysis will be disappointed. Some of the chapters provide useful insight into international development practices and high-level diplomatic negotiation, and Carter presents a compelling rebuttal to criticisms of his hobnobbing with dictators and totalitarians. Sharing the 39th president's boundless energy and enthusiasm for humanitarian work, the book is written in a highly personal and informal style: Carter exults in having convinced his Chinese minders to allow him and Rosalynn to bike freely around 1981 Beijing, and fumes with indignation upon being subjected to tobacco advertising on a flight home from the Balkans. Ultimately, though, this book doesn't measure up to his bestsellers of recent years. (Oct.)