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Jim Hunt: A Biography

Gary Pearce

John F. Blair, Publisher
$23.95 hardcover
6 x 9
288 pages
40 black-and-white photos
November 2010

As one of Jim Hunt’s closest political advisers, Gary Pearce was in a unique position to observe the career of North Carolina’s longest-serving governor. In this authorized biography, Pearce draws from his own observations and experience as well as over 30 interviews with Governor Hunt and more than 50 interviews with friends, family, staffers, political allies, and opponents.

The book covers Hunt’s rise to prominence and his four successful gubernatorial campaigns. It also provides a front-row account of the bitter battle between Hunt and Jesse Helms for the U.S. Senate in 1984. Pearce explains how Hunt was able to come back from that devastating defeat and win two more terms as governor. In his final eight years of office, Hunt pursued progressive goals in a conservative state, became widely known for his initiatives in education, and played an important role in leading North Carolina from being a poor, rural state dependent on tobacco and textiles to becoming a center for high finance and high-tech industry.



"No one I know has done more to shape and expand the future of his state than North Carolina's Jim Hunt. Gary Pearce, his close associate, has told the whole story in this important volume." -David S. Broder, Washington Post
"Jim Hunt was one of those remarkable governors who constructively led the South and the nation into the twenty-first century. To him, relieving youth of the burden of ignorance and poverty represented democracy's greatest challenge. These pages record Governor Hunt's unprecedented and successful political journey and his intelligent statesmanship, directly beneficial to so many. With the abiding strength of his good wife, Carolyn, he continues to make his state a better place to learn, to work, and to live." -William C. Friday, President Emeritus, University of North Carolina
"Jim Hunt was the defining political leader of North Carolina in the twentieth century. His vision, commitment, and energy transformed the state. North Carolina leads the South in education, technology, and social policy, all thanks to Jim Hunt's leadership. Gary Pearce has captured the essence of this remarkable leader. This is a must-read for anyone interested in North Carolina history and the impact one leader can have on a state and its future." -Bob Ingram, former CEO of Glaxo Wellcome, retired vice chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, and partner in Hatteras Venture Partners of Durham, North Carolina
"What does it mean to be a leader in today's society? Jim Hunt's biography reveals the human side of a tenacious, visionary, caring leader on the political battlefield. His victories as a governor and a nationally recognized politician and his advocacy for issues such as education, jobs, and human and civil rights epitomize what it means to ensure that the common good is always the top priority of elected officials at every level of government." -Mary Hartwood Futrell, former dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University and former president of the National Education Association