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The Outlier

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I thought The Outlier: The Life and Presidency of Jimmy Carter was interesting read and giving it five stars.
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The Outlier
The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter
by Kai Bird
Crown Publishing
I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this terrific book!

Jimmy Carter has to be my favorite President. Obama was good but even he had flaws he just hid them. With Carter, he was open and honest and according to polls, people would rather have someone that breaks the rules a few times if it means getting things done. Not me, I want someone with integrity and honestly! But Carter did get things done. I think Carter's time in office was often bad timing on the world stage and other staged plots by Roy Cohn as described in the book.

This follows Carter from his humble beginning on a farm with no running water or electricity to after his Presidency. From boy, man, husband and soldier, to Senator, Governor, then to President and beyond. It deals with family, friends, co-workers, his ideals, his accomplishments, and his failures. It told how he was conservative on some things and liberal on others.

As Governor, and this really wasn't too different than when he was President, he worked for prison reform, education, climate and preserving land, childcare, hunger, and more. But he also was ok with the death penalty for some cases.

As President, he was before his time in climate change. He put solar panels on the White House. (Of course ignorant Reagan took them down!) The only big problem he had was one of his main advisors was accused of cooking the books and the rest of his staff made the guy resign. After the trial, he was proven innocent. Roy Cohn later was the one that started it all to bring shame on Carter's legacy. Carter's popularity went down due to that.

He was working on the high inflation, about had it going in the right direction but not in time to save his election bid, and he should've cut defense spending and focused more on internal development. But the was no wars but a hostage situation at the end of his term, again due to interference.

Overall, Carter manage to get the Panama deal, and several more international issues started or completed. Social security running well. Other major accomplishments we take for granted today. He tried to get a universal healthcare but couldn't get it through. Obama's healthcare piggybacked off of Carter's.

Carter, in his later 90's, is still helping humanity. Still the honest, sweet man that did what he felt was right and didn't care what side of the political stick you were on.

This is a very informative and interesting look into a great man. It doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or Republican, this is a story of a solid citizen, too honest for politics, but he accomplished things anyway! Highly recommend!
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This book was sent to me by Netgalley on Kindle for a review.  President Carter and his wife have lived a life of giving back.  I am not sure that some of the information on this book should have been included...quite personal.  However, I enjoy reading about his life.
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Kai Bird, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, has earned a credibility and kudos as a thorough and honest biographer of important figures in American public life. This new book on President Carter fits her pattern and is a major achievement. I thoroughly appreciated the warts-and-all perspective. This is no hagiography. Instead, Bird fully reveals the complexity of Carter, which sheds important light on why his memory has become somewhat divisive among American elites. Reading this book now, I found it especially fascinating and informative to read the parts of this book that focus on the issue of race in Carter's personal life and how this affected his policy preferences. Thoughtful historical writing on how American's have grappled with racial issues in the twentieth century is so important and welcome. Bird's combination of candor and a delicate touch made facing these tough issues accessible and educational. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and very grateful to #netgalley and the publisher for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
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The Outlier: The Life and Presidency of Jimmy Carter by Kai Bird is an enlightening reassessment of Carter's presidency by putting it in line with the rest of his life. Doing so shows that what went right or wrong in his administration was less about doing the "wrong" thing but doing what he believed was the "right" thing regardless of political fallout or the impact on his reputation. When embedded in a system that rewards corruption and rarely does the "right" thing because it is right, trying to be fair and equitable becomes unpopular and comes largely to failure through efforts of those who want to undermine.

What makes this such a compelling read is that Carter is not presented as some kind of saint, his mistakes and weak points are mentioned as well as his good. But we see the consistency with which he leads his life. So often in politics, some current new upcoming right wing terrorists that have been elected to Congress are perfect examples, when a politician gains a platform those who knew them before don't recognize them. they change in big ways, not just shifting a bit on policy one way or another. Carter has been, as a human being, far more consistent than most of us and definitely far more than almost all politicians. Thus the dismal view of his term, we tried to do what he thought was right rather than what might get him reelected. And the evil regime that followed threw American lives away in order to seal that fate.

I would recommend this to those who would like to reconcile, in their minds, Carter's presidency with the Carter we have all come to respect in his post-presidency. In addition, for those who appreciate a good biography that contextualizes the events rather than simply telling them will enjoy this book.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Bird's book sheds light on the life, presidency, and post-presidency of one of our most recent overlooked presidents.  The Outlier is detailed in scope; "comprehensive" is a good word to use in describing it.  The central chapters of the book are his presidency, which the book views as the central part of his life (the first section is about before, then the third is after).  Throughout all of these, we see Bird argue that Carter has always viewed himself and acted as an outlier.  Being anti-establishment defines him; it forms his political philosophy and guides his religious beliefs.

Implicit in the book, is a thread that I found about this populist mindset.  Recent populist politicians have been popular, but their goals don't align with Carter.  These (unnamed, but known) politicians have consistently put themselves first, thinking about gaining or staying in office.  Carter, viewed his populist, outlier mindset from a moral standpoint.  The best and easiest example to see this is the pardon of Vietnam draft dodgers.  Knowing it wasn't popular, he argued "it was the right thing to do."  Forgiveness over ambition.  Right action over personal attainment.  

You don't have to agree with Carter's presidential decisions to appreciate him as a historical figure.  Misunderstood at the time, maybe.  He can be a guide, though, for us as we try to navigate the dark paths of political division in our country today
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I don’t know if it is fair for me to leave a review as the author is my Mother’s cousin. That being said Kai is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer. I learned so much about Jimmy Carter and who he was as our president. This book is a great source of information
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