ISBN : 9780199753444
This dual biography of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, the thirty-ninth President of the United States and his wife, chronicles the unique political and business relationship of a couple who together rose from obscurity to national and international power. His life in an isolated, prosperous, locally powerful, Baptist farm family prepared him for a career in public service and business. Rosalynn came from a more modest, but well-connected and intelligent, Methodist family in the town of Plains. Each was the oldest of four children, ambitious, eager to learn, able to shoulder heavy responsibilities, and committed to humanitarian interests. Together, they compromised their religious and career differences, enjoyed a short career in the United States Navy, built a small agribusiness empire, plotted political strategy, won the governorship of Georgia in 1970, and announced his candidacy for President of the United States on December 12, 1974. This volume, which covers the years from his birth to the end of his governorship, offers substantial, detailed information about their childhoods, marriage, personal lives, Navy career, business success and entry into politics. In a racially-charged atmosphere, Carter won a contested state senate seat in 1962 but lost the governor's race to Lester Maddox in 1966. In 1970 he won a stunning victory over the old Georgia politics, revealing that Rosalynn was so emotionally and professionally close to her husband that his career often seemed inseparable from hers. Carter shocked the state of Georgia and the entire country with his statement in 1971 that the time for racial discrimination was over, thus launching a national political race. Godbold's research has spanned two decades, much of it in rarely seen documents in the Georgia Department of Archives and History and the better-known Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, both in Atlanta. Working from millions of pages of primary sources, he has added contemporary scholarship, oral histories, and new interviews. From academic and military records, the governor's correspondence, the memories of the Carters, the accounts of Georgia and national politicians, and public documents, this volume details how the Carters rose to power, managed their private and public lives, governed Georgia, and seized control of the national Democratic party. It is a blueprint for what they would do on the national and international stages after 1975. The cast of characters ranging from Jimmy, Rosalynn, Miss Allie Smith, Mr. Earl, Miss Lillian, Brother Billy, Rachel Clark, Admiral Rickover, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, Richard Nixon, Baby Amy, Charles Kirbo, Hamilton Jordan, Jody Powell, and many more is set in a true Faulknerian tale that has changed the image of the South in the national mind and the role of the South in the presidency. The Carters were ordinary people whose dramatic and colourful story resonates with human life, defeat, courage, inspiration, hope, and extraordinary accomplishments.