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Born on October 1, 1924, Jimmy Carter grew up on a Georgia farm during the Great Depression. In An Hour Before Daylight, the former president tells the story of his rural boyhood, and paints a sensitive portrait of America before the civil rights movement.
Carter describes--in glorious, if sometimes gory, detail--growing up on a farm where everything was done by either hand or mule: plowing fields, "mopping" cotton to kill pests, cutting sugar cane, shaking peanuts, or processing pork. He also describes the joys of walking barefoot ("this habit alone helped to create a sense of intimacy with the earth"), taking naps with his father on the porch after lunch, and hunting with slingshots and boomerangs with his playmates--all of whom were black. Carter was in constant contact with his black neighbors; he worked alongside them, ate in their homes, and often spent the night in the home of Rachel and Jack Clark, "on a pallet on the floor stuffed with corn shucks," when his parents were away. However, this intimacy was possible only on the farm. When young Jimmy and his best friend, A.D. Davis, went to town to see a movie, they waited for the train together, paid their 15 cents, and then separated into "white" and "colored" compartments. Once in Americus, they walked to the theater together, but separated again, with Jimmy buying a seat on the main floor or first balcony at the front door, and A.D. going around to the back door to buy his seat up in the upper balcony. After the movie, they returned home on another segregated train. "I don't remember ever questioning the mandatory racial separation, which we accepted like breathing or waking up in Archery every morning."
In this warm, almost sepia-toned narrative, Carter describes his relationships with his parents and with the five people--only two of whom were white--who most affected his early life. Best of all, however, Carter presents his sweetly nostalgic recollections of a lost America. --Sunny Delaney --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Carter has written more than a dozen books since he left the White House; this vivid recollection of his Georgia childhood will probably be one of his most popular efforts. There are facts here--about the economics of farming during the Depression, the structure of sharecropping, and Georgia politics, for example--but the focus of Carter's narrative is the people who nurtured him on the farm and in Plains. Despite segregation, these people included African American neighbors as well as his own family, and Carter supplies lively portraits of many of the adults and children, black and white, who impressed him when he was little. Using a conversational tone, Carter wanders through the past, commenting on the weather and crop prices, local geography, chores and illnesses, adjusting to school, and learning to hunt and fish. Carter remains more popular as an ex-president than he was during his term of office, and his experiences are just different enough from those of most readers that his memoir should have broad appeal. Mary Carroll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
My grandma sure seemed to like this book a hell of alot. She mentions it everytime we see her. I figres it must be worth 3 stars at least.Published on April 4 2004
Reading this book, it's easy to understand why the ex-president insisted, "It's Jimmy. Just call me Jimmy. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2004 by Peggy Vincent
My mother gave me a copy for Christmas. We live just a stone's throw from Plains and she grew up very similarly. Read morePublished on Dec 12 2003
Jimmy Carter, throughout his political career and since his defeat by the seeminly revered Ronnie Reagan, has demonstrated again and again his basic decency and humanity. Read morePublished on March 26 2003 by William F Harrison
Had this engaging and conversational journey through President Carter's early days in Archer, Georgia been published prior to his '76 campaign, Americans would have understood... Read morePublished on March 8 2003 by Kim Gokce
This book is so wonderful, my goodness it is not even very long but also it is real fun to read it and I like it to. I wish that more books could be made that were like this book. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2002
I enjoyed this book tremendously. I am always fascinated to learn of the humble beginnings to peoples lives. Especially those whove made a difference in our world. Read morePublished on Sept. 30 2002 by JAYBIRD
Jimmy Carter, one of our most under-rated Presidents, here brings his formidable intelligence and his shining integrity to bear upon a wonderful memoir of his early years. Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2002 by Karen Sampson Hudson
"An Hour Before Daylight" is a fascinating view into the upbringing of one of America's most unlikely Presidents. Read morePublished on July 9 2002 by Evan M. Thomas