Jimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Postpresidency by Peter G. Bourne and Jimmy Carter: American Moralist by Kenneth E. Morris (review)

Jimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Postpresidency by Peter G. Bourne (Scribner's, 1997

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Jimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Postpresidency by Peter G. Bourne and Jimmy Carter: American Moralist by Kenneth E. Morris (review)

by Leo P. Ribuffo
Southern Cultures, Vol. 4, No. 4: The South in the World

Scribner's, 1997; University of Georgia Press, 1996

These volumes are the first full-fledged biographies of Jimmy Carter to appear since 1980, when political scientist Betty Glad published what may be the best biography ever written about a sitting president. When Glad’sĀ Jimmy Carter: In Search of the Great White HouseĀ appeared, her subject was widely derided as the prophet and source of national “malaise.” Peter G. Bourne’s and Kenneth E. Morris’s books arrive at a time wen Carter is widely hailed as the country’s “best ex-president.” Nonetheless, these three biographies written over a period of almost two decades overlap sufficiently to suggest that Carter is not as “enigmatic” as countless commentators (including Morris) believe.