Jonathan Alter is an award-winning historian, columnist and documentary filmmaker. An MSNBC political analyst and former senior editor at Newsweek, he is the author of three New York Times bestsellers: The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies; The Promise: President Obama, Year One; and The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope.
This deeply researched and fluidly written biography is the first truly comprehensive look at our 39th president. Alter illuminates Carter's character, and explains much about the strengths and weaknesses of the elusive man from Plains. This is a fascinating work. --Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello Jonathan Alter's important, fair-minded, highly readable contribution to this literature provides not just an authoritative introduction to Carter's feats and failures but also insight into why a man of such intelligence, drive and noble intentions floundered in the White House as haplessly as he did... [Alter's] assessment of Carter the man-- disciplined, driven, stubborn, detail-oriented, technocratic, pious-- doesn't break radically from that of other historians. But Alter keeps Carter's myriad facets in view throughout, rendering his subject with a depth rarely achieved by political journalism. -- New York Times Book Review Splendid... Alter's account is ably sourced and fluidly written, one of the best in a celebrated genre of presidential biography. --The Washington Post In this definitive biography, Jonathan Alter provides a wonderfully readable assessment of the character and achievements of our most underrated modern president. It is a deeply personal account, filled with fascinating new information. Carter's story is a needed inspiration in this dark time. --Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci Jonathan Alter has painted an important and revealing portrait of Jimmy Carter, an American president who led many different lives. Alter's memorable book goes a long way toward illuminating the shadows that have long obscured him. --Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Soul of America Jonathan Alter's new biography promises to offer a fresh look at a familiar face. -- BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK An engrossing story about a truly decent man. -- AARP His Very Best is a fascinating book, and Alter tells Carter's life story beautifully and with admirable fairness -- he treats Carter as a real person, as flawed as anyone else, and not as a saint. Alter's pacing is wonderful; his accounts of some of the more dramatic events in Carter's presidency are thrillingly told, but this never comes at the cost of the humanity of the people involved. It's a book that's bound to fascinate anyone with an interest in American history, and an excellent look at the man whom Alter considers, justifiably, perhaps the most misunderstood president in American history. -- NPR Alter is a talented storyteller, and his lively narrative captures Carter's full arc from Georgia farm to White House and beyond. -- National Book Review [S]crupulously researched....provides a candid and often compelling assessment of Carter's policy successes and failures. -- Minneapolis Star-Tribune Students of recent presidential and world history will find Alter's anecdotally rich narrative immensely rewarding. -- Kirkus Reviews A sweeping, meticulously-researched biography...[His Very Best] is an illuminating and persuasive reevaluation of Carter's legacy. --Publishers Weekly In unfolding his carefully researched narrative, Alter portrays Carter as far more successful in his labors as chief executive than is generally acknowledged. A balanced and complete portrait. -- Booklist In this extraordinarily well-researched and well-written book, Jonathan Alter perfectly captures how Jimmy Carter was the most misunderstood president since Thomas Jefferson, and the only other not to lose a single American soldier in war. It's a compelling story of a complicated and brilliant life. --Andrew Young, former US Ambassador to the UN, Mayor of Atlanta, and close confidant to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.