The most recommended Jimmy Carter books

Who picked these books? Meet our 13 experts.

13 authors created a book list connected to Jimmy Carter, and here are their favorite Jimmy Carter books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of Jimmy Carter book?

Loading...
Loading...

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

Van Gosse Author Of Where the Boys Are: Cuba, Cold War and the Making of a New Left

From my list on Cuba and the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

Van Gosse, Professor of History at Franklin & Marshall College, is the author of Where the Boys Are: Cuba, Cold War America, and the Making of a New Left, published in 1993 and still in print, a classic account of how "Yankees" engaged with the Cuban Revolution in its early years. Since then he has published widely on solidarity with Latin America and the New Left; for the past ten years he has also taught a popular course, "Cuba and the United States: The Closest of Strangers."

Van's book list on Cuba and the United States

Van Gosse Why did Van love this book?

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!

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…


Book cover of UFO Sightings: The Evidence

Ian Ridpath Author Of Star Tales

From my list on that have inspired my writings on astronomy and space.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, editor, lecturer, and sometime broadcaster on astronomy and space. My early interest in the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and interstellar communication led me to write my first books, Worlds Beyond (1975) and Messages from the Stars (1978). This interest also led me to investigate UFO sightings, but I soon realized that their explanation lies in human misperception and not ETs. My investigation and explanation of the famous Rendlesham Forest UFO case of December 1980, widely regarded as one of the top-ten cases worldwide and sometimes known as Britain's Roswell, can be found hereIn conjunction with the outstanding Dutch celestial cartographer Wil Tirion, I have produced two standard observing guides for amateur astronomers. 

Ian's book list on that have inspired my writings on astronomy and space

Ian Ridpath Why did Ian love this book?

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.

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…


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

Jonathan Alter Author Of His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life

From my list on Jimmy Carter.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, political analyst, documentary filmmaker, columnist, television producer and radio host. He has interviewed eight of the last nine American presidents and lectures widely about the presidency and public affairs.

Jonathan's book list on Jimmy Carter

Jonathan Alter Why did Jonathan love this book?

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.

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


Book cover of The Year of Dangerous Days: Riots, Refugees, and Cocaine in Miami 1980

Gary Krist Author Of Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans

From my list on narrative nonfiction involving murder and mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a former novelist who now writes historical narrative nonfiction, mainly about American cities and the people who give them life. Each book focuses on an important turning point in the history of a specific metropolis (I've written about Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco), often when the city goes from being a minor backwater to being someplace of significance. And I try to tell this story through the lives of real individuals who help to make that transformation happen. My goal is to use the skills I developed as a fiction writer to create historical narratives that maintain strict standards of scholarship while being as compelling and compulsively readable as novels.

Gary's book list on narrative nonfiction involving murder and mayhem

Gary Krist Why did Gary love this book?

The Year of Dangerous Days is another of those city books that braid together several storylines into a single vibrant portrait. This time the city is Miami, and the year of crisis is 1980, when the Florida metropolis faced a toxic combination of racial unrest, cocaine-fueled gang violence, and an uncontrollable refugee crisis.

Nicholas Griffin anchors his narrative on a few central characters – a police captain, a prominent journalist, a drug lord, and the city's dynamic mayor – creating a cinematic account of a city that somehow managed to emerge from its annus horribilis scarred and chastened, but primed for an unlikely urban rebirth. 

By Nicholas Griffin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Year of Dangerous Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of The Wire, the "utterly absorbing" (The New York Times) story of the cinematic transformation of Miami, one of America's bustling cities-rife with a drug epidemic, a burgeoning refugee crisis, and police brutality-from journalist and award-winning author Nicholas Griffin.

Miami, Florida, famed for its blue skies and sandy beaches, is one of the world's most popular vacation destinations, with nearly twenty-three million tourists visiting annually. But few people have any idea how this unofficial capital of Latin America came to be.

The Year of Dangerous Days is "an engrossing, peek-between-your-fingers history of an American city on the…


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

Aparna Pande Author Of From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India's Foreign Policy

From my list on history and foreign policy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Foreign policy has been my passion since I was a child. My father was a civil servant and growing up in India, I always wanted to follow in his footsteps but instead of working on domestic issues, I wanted to work on international affairs. History was another passion of mine and I wanted to combine the two of them in such a way that I studied the past in order to explain the present and help the future. This passion led me to enroll in a PhD program in the United States and then work at a think tank. I have written three books, two of which focus exclusively on foreign policy. I hope you enjoy reading the books I have listed and read my book.  

Aparna's book list on history and foreign policy

Aparna Pande Why did Aparna love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of The Great Shark Hunt

Jonathan Alter Author Of His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life

From my list on Jimmy Carter.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, political analyst, documentary filmmaker, columnist, television producer and radio host. He has interviewed eight of the last nine American presidents and lectures widely about the presidency and public affairs.

Jonathan's book list on Jimmy Carter

Jonathan Alter Why did Jonathan love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Always a Reckoning and Other Poems

Jonathan Alter Author Of His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life

From my list on Jimmy Carter.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, political analyst, documentary filmmaker, columnist, television producer and radio host. He has interviewed eight of the last nine American presidents and lectures widely about the presidency and public affairs.

Jonathan's book list on Jimmy Carter

Jonathan Alter Why did Jonathan love this book?

During one of my interviews, Carter told me that he had trouble expressing his emotions outside of his poetry. While Carter is not an outstanding poet, he succeeds here in offering glimpses of his inner life and fraught race relations in the American South. And he explores his relationship with his father, wife, son and others.

By Jimmy Carter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Always a Reckoning and Other Poems as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first collection of poetry by former President Jimmy Carter, who shares here his private memories about his childhood, his family and political life, with illustrations by his granddaughter. Always a Reckoning sets a precedent since no other president has published a book of poetry. Gift packaged with ribbon marker. A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated to charity.


Book cover of White House Family Cookbook

Christopher Beauregard Emery Author Of White House Usher: Stories from the Inside

From my list on from-a-white-house-insiders-perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.

Christopher's book list on from-a-white-house-insiders-perspective

Christopher Beauregard Emery Why did Christopher love this book?

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.

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.


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

David Browne Author Of Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970

From my list on why the maligned Seventies were pretty awesome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a senior writer at Rolling Stone, where I cover a wide range of music-related topics. But as a child of the Seventies, I was shaped by the defining and enthralling pop culture of that era, from singer-songwriters, Southern rock, and disco records to Norman Lear sitcoms. In some of my work, I’ve chronicled the highs and lows of that era, perhaps as a way to answer a question that haunted me during my youth: Why did my older sisters and their friends keep telling me that the Sixties were the most incredible decade ever and the Seventies were awful? What did I miss? And how and where did it all go wrong?

David's book list on why the maligned Seventies were pretty awesome

David Browne Why did David love this book?

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. 

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…


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

Jonathan Alter Author Of His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life

From my list on Jimmy Carter.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, political analyst, documentary filmmaker, columnist, television producer and radio host. He has interviewed eight of the last nine American presidents and lectures widely about the presidency and public affairs.

Jonathan's book list on Jimmy Carter

Jonathan Alter Why did Jonathan love this book?

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.

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…