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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.
If you were to judge An Hour Before Daylight by its cover, you might not read it. It's black and white and paints its author in a less than flattering light. Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2011 by M. Yakiwchuk
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
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