Book Review: An Outdoor Journal

I read An Outdoor Journal looking for a quote because former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said I could in his letter, and then I hesitated writing this review because… how to “critically assess” this? Here’s my description of it:

An Outdoor Journal, a collection of hunting, fishing, and other personal reminiscences, is that rare bird: a non-political book written by a politician. Jimmy Carter (properly, “Mr. President”) tells stories as if entertaining a crowd around a campfire in an anecdotal style, more, “And then, one time…” and less, “Once upon a time.” Topics include mountain climbing (in Nepal, and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania), exploring the backwoods growing up in Georgia, participating in almost every kind of fishing imaginable (and either responsibly eating it, or releasing it – no waste), and hunting… So much hunting! Rare birds are safe, but not ducks or turkeys or grouse or quail.

There you have it. You either want to read that, or you don’t. If you do, you’ll love it; if you don’t, trust your instinct. This book should be savored by those who will appreciate it most.

My observations:

  • Mr. President genuinely loves the outdoors. His passion, integrity, and authenticity is inspiring, and it comes through on every page.
  • I loved the description of his childhood. Impressive attention to detail.
  • About that hunting and fishing: Divisive? Yes. Strangely, the response to every anecdote could be punctuated by opposing sides, using almost the exact same phrase: “That’s why hunting is wrong (or right).”
  • The same again with outdoor “enthusiasts” versus “objectors.” After every story, either side could say: “That’s why I love (or hate) the outdoors.”

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