cover image A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety

Jimmy Carter. Simon & Schuster, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-1-501115-63-9

While there’s no gainsaying Carter’s active and selfless post–White House life, this uneven volume is largely a superficial treatment of events and personalities covered elsewhere in more depth, including by the former president himself. Readers unfamiliar with his almost 30 other books may find something new, but even they are likely to be frustrated by passing references to major life events. How did a young Carter feel when his close friend in the Navy killed himself after a hazing? What led him to fall in love instantly with his future wife, Rosalynn? Why was a weekend with a dying Hubert Humphrey among the most “interesting” of his life? Carter doesn’t say. He also seems to credit the successful passage of the 1978 Camp David Accords, perhaps his most significant presidential achievement, to his fortuitous decision to make a thoughtful gesture to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s grandchildren. Carter’s rise from poverty to the most powerful office in the world is inspiring, but this book, complete with average-at-best poetry and artwork, reads more like a vanity project than a lasting source of inspiration and information. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit. (July)