10 books like Always a Reckoning and Other Poems

By Jimmy Carter,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Always a Reckoning and Other Poems. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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An Hour Before Daylight

By Jimmy Carter,

Book cover of An Hour Before Daylight: Memories Of A Rural Boyhood

Carter has written a huge number of books, including a historical novel and a volume of poetry, but this one is definitely his best. Like Coolidge's, it’s simple, detail-driven, and always personal, capturing Carter's Georgia childhood and connecting it to bigger issues like the Great Depression and the Jim Crow South. There's a handful of shorter, more intimate books by ex-presidents—not only Carter’s but also Harry Truman’s Mr. Citizen and Dwight Eisenhower’s At Ease—and these books always read better and reveal more than their authors’ official presidential memoirs. I wish more ex-presidents would follow Coolidge in writing that punchy and personal book first, about their White House years. If they tried this approach, they would find that it makes everyone a winner—not just the presidents but also their readers.

An Hour Before Daylight

By Jimmy Carter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked An Hour Before Daylight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this powerful memoir, former President and bestselling author Jimmy Carter writes about the powerful rhythms of countryside and community in a sharecropping economy. He offers an unforgettable portrait of his father, a brilliant farmer and strict segregationist who treated black workers with his own brand of 'separate' respect and fairness; and his strong-willed and well-read mother, a nurse who cared for all in need. He describes the five other people who shaped his early life, only two of them white; his eccentric relatives; and the boyhood friends with whom he worked the farm and hunted with slingshots and boomerangs,…


The Great Shark Hunt

By Hunter S. Thompson,

Book cover of The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time

After Carter left office, it was hard to remember what made him so exciting when he first became a national figure in 1976. In his patented “gonzo” style, Thompson’s flattering and entertaining articles on Carter in this collection shed light on what made Carter compelling and cool. Thompson's stature among young journalists was so great at the time that his coverage of Carter helped make him president.

The Great Shark Hunt

By Hunter S. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Great Shark Hunt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Well . . .yes, and here we go again' Dr Hunter S. Thompson

Indeed we do. Here, in one chunky volume, is the best of gonzo. From Private Thompson in trouble with the air force, to the devastating portrait of the ageing Muhammad Ali. Taking in the Kentucky Derby, Freak Power in the Rockies, Nixon in '68, McGovern in '72, Fear and Loathing at the Watergate, Jimmy Carter and the Great Leap of Faith - and much more. An indispensable compendium of decadence, depravity and horse-sense.

'Hunter Thompson elicits the same kind of admiration one would feel for a streaker…


Thirteen Days in September

By Lawrence Wright,

Book cover of Thirteen Days in September: The Dramatic Story of the Struggle for Peace

The Camp David Accords brought enduring peace between Israel and Egypt after 25 years of war. Wright’s taut narrative—later adapted as a play—conveys just how close the summit came to falling apart. Along with normalizing relations with China, obtaining ratification of the Panama Canal Treaties, and advancing a path-breaking human rights policy, Carter’s triumph at Camp David suggests he was a better foreign policy president than many critics acknowledged at the time.

Thirteen Days in September

By Lawrence Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thirteen Days in September as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In September 1978, President Jimmy Carter met with Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to broker a peace agreement between the two Middle Eastern nations. After thirteen tumultuous days a treaty was forged which would go on to last for more than three decades.

With his hallmark insight into the forces at play in the Middle East, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright takes us through each day of this historic conference, illuminating the issues that have made the region's troubles so intractable and exploring the scriptural narratives that continue to frame the conflict. Featuring vivid portrayals…


All Fall Down

By Gary Sick,

Book cover of All Fall Down: America's Tragic Encounter With Iran

Sick, Carter’s White House adviser on Iran, offers a cogent, deeply insightful account of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the seizure of American hostages in Tehran, and the Carter Administration’s inadequate response to the unfolding crisis. In a later book, The October Surprise, Sick falls just short of proving that the Reagan campaign conspired with the Iranian government to delay the release of the hostages until after the 1980 election. But he is convincing in his claim that the truth in this sordid affair has never fully come to light.

All Fall Down

By Gary Sick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Fall Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A former naval intelligence officer and National Security Council staff member provides a day-to-day account of the Iranian revolution, the hostage crisis, and America's failure to deal effectively with both


His Very Best

By Jonathan Alter,

Book cover of His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life

Over 40 years after he left office, when he was replaced by Ronald Reagan, Carter remains an underrated and undervalued president. Alter doesn’t skimp on Carter’s shortcomings, from his sometimes rigid thinking to a nastiness that could be unleashed; the Iran-hostage debacle is also detailed in full. But using interviews with Carter and many of his associates and family members, he also makes the case, without being heavy-handed, that Carter was ahead of the curve on the ecology, voting rights, and other issues that remain frustratingly unfulfilled. 

His Very Best

By Jonathan Alter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked His Very Best as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of America's most-respected journalists and modern historians comes the first full-length biography of Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth president of the United States and Nobel Prize-winning humanitarian.

Jonathan Alter tells the epic story of an enigmatic man of faith and his improbable journey from barefoot boy to global icon. Alter paints an intimate and surprising portrait of the only president since Thomas Jefferson who can fairly be called a Renaissance Man, a complex figure-ridiculed and later revered-with a piercing intelligence, prickly intensity, and biting wit beneath the patented smile. Here is a moral exemplar for our times, a flawed…


Magnificent Delusions

By Husain Haqqani,

Book cover of Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding

The book takes the reader through seven decades of a tumultuous history of relations between the two countries. I love this book because it is an easy and fun read, the writing style is light, and there are lots of anecdotes. As a student of history and international relations, the book appealed to me at multiple levels. The book will appeal to practitioners, academics, and the average reader.

Magnificent Delusions

By Husain Haqqani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Magnificent Delusions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The relationship between America and Pakistan is based on mutual incomprehension and always has been. Pakistan,to American eyes,has gone from being a quirky irrelevance, to a stabilizing friend, to an essential military ally, to a seedbed of terror. America,to Pakistani eyes,has been a guarantee of security, a coldly distant scold, an enthusiastic military enabler, and is now a threat to national security and a source of humiliation.The countries are not merely at odds. Each believes it can play the other,with sometimes absurd, sometimes tragic, results. The conventional narrative about the war in Afghanistan, for instance, has revolved around the Soviet…


UFO Sightings

By Robert Sheaffer,

Book cover of UFO Sightings: The Evidence

Skeptical books about UFOs are rare, and this one is a particular treasure. Sheaffer, a Silicon Valley engineer, and amateur astronomer, has been documenting the UFO field since the 1970s, and continues to report on developments via his blog Bad UFOs. This book is an updated and expanded edition of his earlier work called The UFO Verdict of 1981 in which he concluded that "UFOs as real and distinct entities simply do not exist." Forty years on, nothing has emerged to change that conclusion. If you have ever wondered whether UFOs are worth taking seriously (and why scientists do not), then this thoughtful book will provide your answer.

UFO Sightings

By Robert Sheaffer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked UFO Sightings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Engaging and entertaining, UFO Sightings: The Evidence is the most up-to-date overview of the UFO phenomenon, a controversy that gains strength with each new report of strange happenings in the sky. Written from the skeptical perspective, and applying the scientific method to the cases explored, this book differs greatly from the proparanormal tomes widely available today.

"Most broad survey UFO books contain absolutely uncritical presentations of sensational claims," says author Robert Sheaffer. "Typically, pro-UFO books deliberately omit all facts that tend to discredit the cases."

UFO Sightings is unique because it gives the reader a broad overview of the world…


I Shall Not Hate

By Izzeldin Abuelaish,

Book cover of I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

I heard Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish speak at the Auckland Writer’s Festival some years back now. The auditorium was packed, yet you could hear a pin drop, so moved was the audience by this man’s profound humanity. A dedicated physician who, despite having suffered personal tragedy in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, has not allowed hatred or revenge to corrode his life. He continues to work tirelessly for peace and resolution in the troubled Gaza region and is a beacon of hope for all mankind. 

I Shall Not Hate

By Izzeldin Abuelaish,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Shall Not Hate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Heart-breaking, hopeful and horrifying, I Shall Not Hate is a Palestinian doctor's inspiring account of his extraordinary life, growing up in poverty but determined to treat his patients in Gaza and Israel regardless of their ethnic origin.

A London University- and Harvard-trained Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and 'who has devoted his life to medicine and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians' (New York Times), Abuelaish is an infertility specialist who lives in Gaza but works in Israel. On the strip of land he calls home (where 1.5 million Gazan…


Back Channel to Cuba

By William M. LeoGrande, Peter Kornbluh,

Book cover of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana

Utterly engrossing, this behind-the-scenes narrative over many decades demonstrates that the Cuban diplomats were almost always willing to move towards normalizing relations, but were repeatedly stymied by non-negotiable demands from the U.S. side. Besides that, it’s full of piquant details, involving the many non-official actors and secret meetings in New York, on the island, or in other countries. Diplomatic history rarely gets this exciting!

Back Channel to Cuba

By William M. LeoGrande, Peter Kornbluh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Back Channel to Cuba as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Challenging the conventional wisdom of perpetual hostility between the United States and Cuba--beyond invasions, covert operations, assassination plots using poison pens and exploding seashells, and a grinding economic embargo--this fascinating book chronicles a surprising, untold history of bilateral efforts toward rapprochement and reconciliation. Since 1959, conflict and aggression have dominated the story of U.S.-Cuban relations. Now, William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh present a new and increasingly more relevant account. From John F. Kennedy's offering of an olive branch to Fidel Castro after the missile crisis, to Henry Kissinger's top secret quest for normalization, to Barack Obama's promise of a…


White House Family Cookbook

By Henry Haller,

Book cover of White House Family Cookbook

This book is written by, IMO, the best chef ever to have served at the White House. I was fortunate to have been Chef Haller’s boss during my time at the White House. Henry retired after 21 years of flawless service and worked in the Johnston, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan White Houses. An incredible talent with a positive, pleasant temperament, everyone loved Chef Haller.

White House Family Cookbook

By Henry Haller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White House Family Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than 250 First Family recipes; a historic treasury of American cooking. Chef Haller entertains with tidbits of presidential lore and his memories of life upstairs and down. 8 pages of color photos.


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Interested in Jimmy Carter, the South, and the Presidents of the United States?

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