James Earl Carter, Jr. – better known as Jimmy Carter – was not the greatest or most popular president of the United States but he did accomplish quite a lot in the fields of civil rights, energy and foreign policy during his term from 1977 to 1981. However, the economy fared badly and he lost face in his dealings with Iran. So when he left after one term, he was not greatly missed… or so it seemed. For, after the presidency, he made an amazing comeback as a diplomat and trouble-shooter in international crises, becoming an amazing ex-president. And even the earlier views of his presidency have been improving… at least he did not get the country into a war.
This rather special trajectory is explained in the Historical Dictionary of the Carter Era, with an obvious focus on his term as president. His run for the presidency and what he did during his term in office is traced carefully by the chronology. The introduction takes a longer view and also puts events in a broader context. Then the dictionary section, with hundreds of detailed and cross-referenced entries, tells us more about his policy in various fields but also how America changed culturally and socially during this period. The extensive bibliography points toward further information, although this book is certainly a good starting point and also a place to refresh one’s memory.