Summary and book reviews of An Hour Before Daylight by Jimmy Carter

An Hour Before Daylight

Memories of A Rural Boyhood

by Jimmy Carter

An Hour Before Daylight by Jimmy Carter X
An Hour Before Daylight by Jimmy Carter
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Dec 2000, 280 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2001, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Carter's clean and eloquent prose evokes a time when the cycles of life were predictable and simple and the rules were heartbreaking and complex - Carter creates a sensitive portrait of an era that shaped the nation.

In an American story of enduring importance, Jimmy Carter re-creates his Depression-era boyhood on a Georgia farm, before the civil rights movement that changed it and the country.

In what is sure to become a classic, the bestselling author of Living Faith and Sources of Strength writes about the powerful rhythms of countryside and community in a sharecropping economy. Along the way, he offers an unforgettable portrait of his father, a brilliant farmer and strict segregationist who treated black workers with his own brand of "separate" respect and fairness, and his strong-willed and well-read mother, a nurse who cared for all in need -- regardless of their position in the community.

Carter describes the five other people who shaped his early life, only two of them white: his eccentric relatives who sometimes caused the boy to examine his heritage with dismay; the boyhood friends with whom he hunted with slingshots and boomerangs and worked the farm, but who could not attend the same school; and the eminent black bishop who refused to come to the Carters' back door but who would stand near his Cadillac in the front yard discussing crops and politics with Jimmy's father.

Carter's clean and eloquent prose evokes a time when the cycles of life were predictable and simple and the rules were heartbreaking and complex. In his singular voice and with a novelist's gift for detail, Jimmy Carter creates a sensitive portrait of an era that shaped the nation.

An Hour Before Daylight is destined to stand with other timeless works of American literature.

Chapter 1: Land, Farm, and Place

If you leave Savannah on the coast and travel on the only U.S. highway that goes almost straight westward across the state of Georgia, you will cross the Ogeechee, Oconee, and Ocmulgee rivers, all of which flow to the south and east and empty into the Atlantic Ocean. After about three hours you'll cross the Flint River, the first stream that runs in a different direction, and eventually its often muddy waters empty into the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains, our "divide" is not noticeable, because the land was all part of the relatively flat bottom of the sea in the not-too-distant geological past. It is still rich and productive, thanks to the early ocean sediments and the nutrients it has accumulated from plants and animals since that time.

If you keep on for another thirty miles, still heading toward Columbus, Georgia; Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama; and points beyond, you'll come to Plains, a small...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

The Washington Post Book World - Jonathan Yardley
A lovely and haunting piece of work...conveys with quiet passion...its author's love for the place in which he grew up and where, he says, he expects to rest for eternity.

Booklist - Mary Carroll
Carter has written more than a dozen books since he left the White House; this vivid recollection of his Georgia childhood will probably be one of his most popular efforts......Carter remains more popular as an ex-president than he was during his term of office, and his experiences are just different enough from those of most readers that his memoir should have broad appeal.

Amazon.com - Sunny Delaney
In this warm, almost sepia-toned narrative, Carter describes his relationships with his parents and with the five people--only two of whom were white--who most affected his early life. Best of all, however, Carter presents his sweetly nostalgic recollections of a lost America.

Reader Reviews

Debbie Sturgeon

Delightful Read
An Hour Before Daylight is a delightful, heart-warming tale of life in rural America. I read this book after I completed John Grisham's 'A Painted House' and found that it told "the rest of the story." The books were very similar, however, Mr.Carter'...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Jimmy Carter

If you liked An Hour Before Daylight, try these:

  • We Were Brothers jacket

    We Were Brothers

    by Barry Moser

    Published 2015

    About this book

    "We Were Brothers, Barry Moser's beautiful - and beautifully illustrated - new book, tells the wrenching and redeeming story of brothers who take different paths and yet ultimately find their ways back to each other...Their careful reconciliation after decades of strife and avoidance is sad, moving, and joyful all at the same time." - Andrew ...

  • Ava's Man jacket

    Ava's Man

    by Rick Bragg

    Published 2002

    About this book

    More books by this author

    The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All Over but the Shoutin’ continues his personal history of the Deep South with an evocation of his mother’s childhood in the Appalachian foothills during the Great Depression, and the magnificent story of the man who raised her.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Grace
    by Paul Lynch
    Harrowing. Gorgeous. Epic. Grace, Paul Lynch's coming of age novel about a young woman, is set ...
  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Summer Wives
    by Beatriz Williams

    An electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power and redemption set on an island off the New England coast.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.