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Summary

The former president and best selling author of Sources of Strength and The Virtues of Aging writes about the powerful rhythms of countryside and community in a sharecropping economy of Depression-era Georgia. He renders 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 other people who shaped his early life (only two of whom were white), including the boyhood friends who could not attend the same school, and the eminent black bishop who refused to come to the back door but would stand in the front yard discussing crops and politics with Jimmy's father.

Carter evokes a time when the cycles of life were predictable and simple while the rules were heartbreaking and complex. An Hour Before Daylight is a sensitive portrait of an era that shaped the nation.

©2001 Jimmy Carter, All Rights Reserved (P)2001 Simon & Schuster, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Critic reviews

Grammy nominee, Best Spoken Word Album
"Candid...an inspirational story." ( AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Samantha
  • Samantha
  • 05-07-03

A rare view of rural America

Biography is not my usual choice, but this one is very engaging. Through close examination of his childhood, Jimmy Carter offers rare insight into the social relationships in a poor, southern farming community of the early 20th century. His deliberate and colorful narration paints a beautiful portrait of a uniquely American way of life. He presents thought provoking observations of the relationships between black and white Americans with open honesty. This book has substance and exciting imagery. Jimmy reads with a steady, strolling pace and deep sincerity that is quite a treat.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Leslie Grey McCawley
  • Leslie Grey McCawley
  • 21-08-06

Captures an era now all but gone

As a student of the American South I found this book wonderful. Just listening to Mr Carter's gentle narration makes me feel that if there are really people like him then all will be right with the world someday. To also hear what, as a little boy, influenced his ideals, beliefs, and formation of character gave me insight into the man I admire, and the Southern culture in another time. He writes so well, sharing small moments and large, and many of his descriptions of working and playing barefooted on the farm with his friends have stayed with me warmly and richly. This memoir captures an era that is gone, and a generation that is nearly gone. It is a sweet and dear book and very worthwhile.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Donald
  • Donald
  • 02-05-04

An Hour Before Daylight

Wonderful account of how a country boy grew up to be a high achiever. The author and narrator is able to relate his story extremely well and it is fascinating. You learn a great deal about Mr. Carter's upbringing as well as about agriculture and life in the rural southern USA in the early 20th century. The relationship of Mr. Carter to his father and his subsequent development of a powerful work ethic is memorable.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kz
  • Kz
  • 23-03-09

Wonderful Story of Simpler Times

A wonderful telling of a time when life was harder, but you appreciated what you had and experienced. Where family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances are treated and regarded as siblings. A lost time where everyone looked out for and took care of each other - not out of necessity, but because it was the right thing to do. This type of lifestyle is quickly dissappearing, even in our smaller towns, and the country is growing poorer by the minute beacuse of it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for RVeit
  • RVeit
  • 24-02-18

Great story, incredible voice, why abridged?!

If you could sum up An Hour Before Daylight in three words, what would they be?

Beautiful, genuine, moving

What does Jimmy Carter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

That voice! No one else could bring this story to life like the author.

Any additional comments?

This is one of my all-time favorite Audible purchases. Throw all your political views aside: this is a beautiful historical portrait of a time, a place, and a childhood. Four stars only because for the life of me I can’t fathom why it’s abridged. Give us the unabridged version, please!

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Profile Image for mary lou
  • mary lou
  • 02-09-15

a book worth reading

liked hearing about his family and the relationship they had with the black community in the south, in the historical content.

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Profile Image for Lisa
  • Lisa
  • 20-10-12

VeryTouching

Jimmy Carter was a great narrator and wrote engaging little stories of his experiences growning up on his GA farm. HIghly recommend!!!