Prophet from Plains
Jimmy Carter and His Legacy

Frye Gaillard
Foreword by David C. Carter

A balanced and thoughtful portrayal of a globally influential presidency and postpresidency


"A thoughtful work on one of the world's heroic peacemakers. During the past thirty years, no individual has done more to resolve conflicts, promote human rights and democracy, and eradicate debilitating diseases than Jimmy Carter, and yet he and his presidency have been subject to severe criticism. Prophet from Plains weighs both sides as Gaillard chronicles Carter's journey and evaluates his legacy."
—Robert A. Pastor, Vice President of International Affairs and Professor of International Relations, American University

"Without pretending to be a comprehensive biography, Prophet from Plains provides an engaging, deeply informed account and interpretation of Jimmy Carter’s presidency and his myriad pursuits in the decades since he left office. Generally laudatory without overlooking Carter’s flaws, it highlights the Carter Center’s remarkable success in tackling deadly but curable diseases, the former president’s work with Habitat for Humanity, his personal courage in monitoring elections around the world, and his passionate commitment to peace and human rights. Captivating in itself, Carter’s story is enhanced by Frye Gaillard’s gifts as a keen observer and skilled storyteller. This book is a valuable contribution by a first-rate writer at the top of his form."
—William Martin, author of A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story

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Prophet from Plains covers Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter's major achievements and setbacks in light of what has been at once his greatest asset and his greatest flaw: his stubborn, faith-driven integrity. Carter's remarkable postpresidency is still in the making; however, he has already redefined the role for all who follow him.

Frye Gaillard, who wrote extensively about Carter at the Charlotte Observer, was among the first to take the Carter postpresidency seriously and to challenge many accepted conclusions about Carter's term in office. Carter was not an irresolute president, says Gaillard, but rather one so certain of his own rectitude that he misjudged the importance of "selling" himself to America. Ranging across the highs and lows of the Carter presidency, Gaillard covers the energy crisis, the Iran hostage situation, the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal and other treaties, and the new diplomatic emphasis on human rights.

Carter's established priorities did not change once he was out of office, but he was far more effective outside the strictures of presidential politics. Gaillard's coverage of this period includes Carter's friendship with Gerald R. Ford, his work through the Carter Center on disease control and election monitoring, and his association with Habitat for Humanity.

Prophet from Plains locates Carter in the tradition of Old Testament prophets who took uncompromising stands for peace and justice. Resisting the role of an above-the-fray elder statesman, Carter has thrust himself into international controversies in ways that some find meddlesome and others heroic.

Page count: 144 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5

Read more about Jimmy Carter at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


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Frye Gaillard is the writer-in-residence in the English and history departments at the University of South Alabama. He is the author of twenty books, including With Music and Justice for All: Some Southerners and Their Passions; Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement That Changed America, winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award; The Dream Long Deferred: The Landmark Struggle for Desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina, winner of the Gustavus Myers Award; and If I Were a Carpenter, the first independent, book-length study of Habitat for Humanity.