Christmas in Plains: Memories

Jimmy Carter

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2001
ISBN 10: 0743224914 / ISBN 13: 9780743224918
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Synopsis: In a beautifully rendered portrait, Jimmy Carter remembers the Christmas days of his Plains boyhood -- the simplicity of family and community gift-giving, his father's eggnog, the children's house decorations, the school Nativity pageant, the fireworks, Luke's story of the birth of Christ, and the poignancy of his black neighbors' poverty.Later, away at Annapolis, he always went home to Plains, and during his Navy years, when he and Rosalynn were raising their young family, they spent their Christmases together re-creating for their children the holiday festivities of their youth.Since the Carters returned home to Plains for good, they have always been there on Christmas Day, with only one exception in forty-eight years: In 1980, with Americans held hostage in Iran, Jimmy, Rosalynn, and Amy went by themselves to Camp David, where they felt lonely. Amy suggested that they invite the White House staff and their families to join them and to celebrate. Nowadays the Carters' large family is still together at Christmastime, offering each other the gifts and the lifelong rituals that mark this day for them.With the novelist's eye that enchanted readers of his memoir "An Hour Before Daylight," Jimmy Carter has written another American classic, in the tradition of Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" and Dylan Thomas's "A Child's Christmas in Wales."

Review: Jimmy Carter's Georgia hometown has been the one constant in his life, and he pays tribute to it with Christmas in Plains, a collection of holiday memories from his childhood through his Navy days, his time as Georgia governor and U.S. president, and his very active retirement. As a schoolboy, Carter looked forward to painting many-colored magnolia leaves to mix in with the holly on the mantle. His favorite way to collect mistletoe "usually at the top of oak or pecan trees and on the ends of slender limbs, was to shoot into the clump and let the bullets or buckshot cut off some sprigs." And when his godmother went to Cleveland, Ohio, one December, he asked her to bring back a snowball. It was quite some time before he realized that the large white marble she gave him was not "a real petrified snowball." Carter's memories of holding onto faith during the Christmases of his presidency are often poignant, taking place in the context of the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. And his postretirement experiences of Christmas are strangely, comfortingly familiar, characterized by jealousy of in-laws and generosity towards neighbors. --Michael Joseph Gross

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Christmas in Plains: Memories
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Very Good

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