Holiday book recommendation: Finding Dan McCarty and Jimmy Carter in Plains

Finding Dan McCarty, by Robert Buccellato, an important work on the evolution of Florida’s political history is a must read for any junkie of state government. I’m honored to have contributed to this work writing an afterward which was about the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s in Florida politics.

From the book:

A thin layer of glass separated him from the crowd; the endless stream of people walking past his open casket, glancing down at his lifeless face. His body lay resting inches from the main rotunda stairway where just a handful of years earlier he could be seen running up in a mix of energy and youthful vigor that would make him Florida’s youngest speaker and Governor. South Florida’s first Governor, a progressive who was also a realist, McCarty was now stricken by a heart attack. His policies now at the hands of his nemesis, the arch conservative Senate President Charley Johns. But fate and happenstance stepped in and allowed his state to flourish none the less. Finding Dan McCarty is a story about two very different men on similar journeys of personal and professional discovery. On the one hand is an Historian reaching out to the last members of this distant moment in Florida’s history to understand the life of a deceased politician, long hidden under a cloak of mystery. The other is a fallen Governor, who left behind in his wake a lasting legacy of achievement. A story which paints vivid portraits of McCarty’s many enemies, allies, and the historic events that formed the Governor’s thrilling brief life. Written by Robert Buccellato author of the acclaimed “Jimmy Carter in Plains.”

McCarty was the first Governor elected from southern Florida and was a complicated figure whose politics began to transform the state. Also by same author is Jimmy Carter in Plains: (Images of Modern America)

The book is a unique look at the relationship between President Carter and his hometown. Exclusive photographs from Charles Plant in this book weave a motif of Carter and his family in the town of Plains, Georgia and one-of-a-kind looks behind the scenes at the Carter family on election night 1976 and the next morning. Other campaign items in the work include the first ever Spanish-language mass produced literature from a major Presidential campaign, campaign posters and letters. From the book you get a clear sense of how Carter was able to connect with populations in rural areas on a very personal level and how his style of retail campaigning was honed at home.

A must buy for any Carter fan, the pictures and anecdotes in the  book encompass storytelling with images that cannot be found anywhere else.

Below is a full length interview with the author about President Carter’s upbringing, influences, style and politics.


  1. Anonymous · ·

    a caption for the photo?


%d bloggers like this: