US statesman and 39th president (1977–81), born in Plains, Georgia, USA. He trained at the US Naval Academy (1946) and served in the navy until 1953, during which time he worked under Admiral Hyman Rickover on the naval nuclear reactor project. He left the navy to take over the family’s peanut business, which he expanded. He served two terms as a Democrat in the Georgia legislature (1963–7), and after serving as a liberal governor of Georgia (1970–4), began campaigning for the presidency and won the Democratic nomination of 1976, narrowly beating Gerald Ford. In contrast to recent administrations, he had promised an open and progressive government responsive to the public, but despite a Democratic Congress, his presidency was notable more for good intentions than achievements. He did effect the Panama Treaty and the historic Camp David agreements between Israel and Egypt (1979), but his initial popularity waned during 1979–80 as a result of mounting economic difficulties and the seizure of US hostages in Iran, and he lost the 1980 election to Ronald Reagan. Back in private life, he was active in national and international social concerns, taking a hands-on approach to everything from building homes for poor Americans to mediating between hostile parties, notably in the 1994 crisis in Haiti. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002 for his efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development. He is the first US president to write a novel, The Hornet’s Nest (2004).
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