An astute, often shocking, behind-the-scenes chronicle.

Jimmy Carter’s chief domestic policy adviser tells all.

In 1981, Eizenstat (The Future of the Jews: How Global Forces Are Impacting the Jewish People, Israel, and Its Relationship with the United States, 2012, etc.) began research on a history of the Carter presidency. Drawing on 5,000 pages of his own “detailed, often verbatim” notes; 350 interviews with individuals within and outside of the administration (including Carter, his wife, and Walter Mondale); and copious material from the Carter Presidential Library and many other sources, the author has created a mammoth, authoritative, and comprehensive history of four tumultuous years. A born-again Christian peanut farmer, Carter promised to fight “for the common good against Washington’s entrenched interests.” He disdained politics and had no interest in—or talent for—“buttering up Congressional egos and rallying interest groups and the public” to support his policies. Eizenstat highlights Carter’s many accomplishments: He championed human rights domestically and internationally; reined in Soviet interests in the Persian Gulf and Middle East; doggedly negotiated a peace accord between Israel and Egypt; deregulated crude oil and natural gas prices as well as the transportation industry; pursued an aggressive conservation policy; bailed out New York City and Chrysler from bankruptcy; and oversaw the creation of 10 million new jobs. From the outset, though, Carter’s administration was undermined by mismanagement, astounding ineptitude, and bad luck. He assembled a strong Cabinet but provided no clear guidance on his own goals, and most staff were inexperienced. A micromanager, he drowned himself in details, and he failed to communicate adequately to the press, lawmakers, and the public. He was also beset by divisiveness in Congress and among various constituencies. Domestically, he faced stagflation (high inflation and rising unemployment). In his final year, to the CIA’s surprise, Iran erupted in revolution, resulting in 52 Americans being held hostage in the U.S. Embassy. Eizenstat enlivens his chronicle with deft portraits of a huge cast of characters, including a headstrong 29-year-old pollster who became “almost like Rasputin” to Carter.

An astute, often shocking, behind-the-scenes chronicle.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-10455-7

Page Count: 992

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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