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Christmas in Plains: Memories [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Jimmy Carter
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 6 2001

In a beautifully rendered portrait, Jimmy Carter remembers the Christmas days of his Plains boyhood -- the simplicity of family and community gift-giving, his father's eggnog, the children's house decorations, the school Nativity pageant, the fireworks, Luke's story of the birth of Christ, and the poignancy of his black neighbors' poverty.

Later, away at Annapolis, he always went home to Plains, and during his Navy years, when he and Rosalynn were raising their young family, they spent their Christmases together re-creating for their children the holiday festivities of their youth.

Since the Carters returned home to Plains for good, they have always been there on Christmas Day, with only one exception in forty-eight years: In 1980, with Americans held hostage in Iran, Jimmy, Rosalynn, and Amy went by themselves to Camp David, where they felt lonely. Amy suggested that they invite the White House staff and their families to join them and to celebrate.

Nowadays the Carters' large family is still together at Christmastime, offering each other the gifts and the lifelong rituals that mark this day for them.

With the novelist's eye that enchanted readers of his memoir An Hour Before Daylight, Jimmy Carter has written another American classic, in the tradition of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory and Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales.

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From Amazon

Jimmy Carter's Georgia hometown has been the one constant in his life, and he pays tribute to it with Christmas in Plains, a collection of holiday memories from his childhood through his Navy days, his time as Georgia governor and U.S. president, and his very active retirement. As a schoolboy, Carter looked forward to painting many-colored magnolia leaves to mix in with the holly on the mantle. His favorite way to collect mistletoe "usually at the top of oak or pecan trees and on the ends of slender limbs, was to shoot into the clump and let the bullets or buckshot cut off some sprigs." And when his godmother went to Cleveland, Ohio, one December, he asked her to bring back a snowball. It was quite some time before he realized that the large white marble she gave him was not "a real petrified snowball." Carter's memories of holding onto faith during the Christmases of his presidency are often poignant, taking place in the context of the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. And his postretirement experiences of Christmas are strangely, comfortingly familiar, characterized by jealousy of in-laws and generosity towards neighbors. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This slim yet deeply textured memoir detailing former president Carter's Christmases as a boy in rural Georgia, as a naval officer, a politician and president serves as an excellent companion to his earlier, bestselling memoir, An Hour Before Daylight, but can also be read on its own as a tribute to family and a reminder that economy of gifts doesn't have to mean economy of generosity. Told in clear, honest language, these engaging vignettes range from endearing stories from his boyhood using the tinfoil from his father's cigarette packs to make tinsel for the tree as well as revealing ones Carter's thoughts and feelings during the hostage crisis in the Middle East toward the end of his presidency. These are the humble and heartfelt experiences that shaped and reflect his character: stories of his close black friends in the pre-civil rights era, of one memorable holiday involving a truckload of grapefruit, of another at Camp David, of trying to spend some quiet moments alone with his family in Plains even with the Secret Service in tow. The message illustrated throughout could not be more timely that gifts from the heart are the most important kind and should not be restricted to one's own family. (Nov.)Forecast: Comforting and inspiring, this should have very big sales among readers of Carter's previous book and bring him new readers as well.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
To understand what Christmases were like when I was a child, one has to know a little about where I lived and, of course, the times. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Human Side of America's 39th President Jan. 28 2004
I had the privilege and honor of meeting President Carter at the University of Washington, where he signed a copy of this book for me. "Christmas in Plains" is a wonderful book that approaches autobiography in a new and interesting way: Jimmy Carter reflects on his life as a series of holiday seasons. We see the triumphs and the failures in eloquent and honest prose.
History will remember Jimmy Carter as a compassionate human being with a genuine desire to help others. This book would make the perfect holiday gift. After all, what better values truly embody the holiday spirit than compassion and love?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Joy from the Carters Dec 22 2003
The short, joyful book contains Jimmy Carter memories of Christmas. His earliest memories begin around 1930 (when he was 5), and involve memories of father Earl and mother Lillian, as well as black neighbors (in an era of separation, his family perhaps represented a light in the South). There are happy childhood memories of finding the Christmas tree and fireworks. Jimmy and Rosalynn always tried to get back to Plains, but there are included a few absent remembrance from Navy years, and a rather tense Christmas with the holding of the Iran hostages. The line drawings by daughter Amy add a family charm to the book. May the Carter's have many more Merry Christmases together in Plains.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Life in Plains, Acommunity in April 16 2002
This is another of Jimmy Carter's books of God and his values. Jimmy is a good man and writes something that will not electrify you. This is part of his autobiography from Plains, the village or small town in Georgia where he remembered the good things when was a boy and always returned to Plains with his family to spend time with his mother and his wife's mother for Christmas. His father passed on earlier from cancer during this period.
He graduated from Annapolis, spent a long tour in the Navy, elected for two terms as state senator and then to the Governor of Georgia, before being elected President of the USA. He married Rosalynn, a childhood sweetheart, during his time in the Navy and they had three sons. He now has six grandchildren, at the last count.
After that, Jimmy and Rosalynn returned to Georgia. After founding the Atlanta-based Carter Center he is devoting the rest of time writing and doing good for all the world's people.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's O.K. Jan. 22 2002
This book was not half as detailed as "An hour before daylight," which I thought was great! Daylight also has photographs, this one does not, and the artwork in this is uninspired (sorry Amy). I just didn't find enough Christmas feeling in this book to suit me. I would recommend redoing this one, enlarging it to include Rosalyn's perspective with photographs. Maybe some input from more members of the family. And I would like to see some enthusiasm, excitement and humor in Amy's art.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Merry Christmas from the Former President Dec 30 2001
Merry Christmas from the Former President
Prolific former President Carter's slim volume of Christmas memories--most spent in his hometown--makes for a quick and easy read and leaves a lingering satisfied feeling. No vignette is particularly earth-shattering, but perhaps it is the mundane and wholesome nature of his experiences that makes them all the more engrossing.
While few observers would term Jimmy Carter a great president, only the most blindly partisan Republicans fail to see him as a noble patriot overflowing with integrity. These identifying attributes are quietly displayed throughout the episodes he narrates. Even when he steps on a few toes, they are feet that deserve it. Those with a phobia about vestiges of Christianity in public schools will shutter when he writes of his childhood, "it would have been ridiculous in those days for anyone in our community, or the state of Georgia, to think that the dedicated religious services that were held every day in the public school might violate in any way the First Amendment." The former president sees great value in the school's religious presentations "because they reached every child, not just the churchgoers." Such virtuous suasion may earn him membership in the vast right wing conspiracy in some circles, but unabashed honesty forms the basis of Jimmy Carter.
Perusing his others Yuletide tales spent in the Navy, as a young father and husband, serving as Georgia's governor, on to the White, House, and back home again, readers may be disappointed by the skeletal nature of certain chapters. However, Carter's post-presidency has produced a substantial oeuvre, and other works can undoubtedly flesh out the missing tidbits.
Maybe the book's greatest strength is near complete avoidance of the political realm. Carter seems to be saying that Christmas is for all Americans, and while politics has its place, it takes a back seat--or at least it should-- to our nation's sacred holidays.
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Since leaving the White House in 1981, Jimmy Carter has developed a rightfully-earned reputation as one of the most respected former presidents in U.S. history. Part of that reputation has been earned through the numerous books he has penned over the years. His books are thoughtful and down-to-earth, and remind us of values and perspectives that are truly part of the American tradition. His latest book is no exception and offers a delightful read during this holiday season--an opportunity to pause and reflect on Christmas Past with the former president, thereby recalling our own Christmas memories as well. Once again, we thank this man of wisdom and integrity for sharing his thoughts and memories with us!
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