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Gerald R. Ford by Douglas Brinkley
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It's a tough assignment to write an interesting account of a presidency which most people consider very uninteresting, yet Brinkley succeeds handsomely. His narrative is a good reminder of just how tumultuous the Ford years were. His portrait of Ford is the familiar one; good-hearted, honest, hard-working, moderate everyman who was thrust into an impossible situation. Brinkley's larger theme is that Ford wanted the Republican Party to be a broad coalition in the Eisenhower-Nixon mode rather than the ideological party advocated by Goldwater and Reagan, though he does point out that during his congressional years Ford was a vehement defender of the Vietnam war and masterminded the quixotic campaign to impeach Justice William Douglas. As good as Brinkley's narrative is, his objectivity is belied by his final chapter, a dogged hagiography capped by the laughable assertion that Ford was a near-great president. Little in Brinkley's own narrative suggests that the Ford administration was anything more than a clique-ridden improvisation lurching from crisis to crisis under too much guidance from ambitious, contentious power players such as Don Rumsfeld, Henry Kissinger, James Schlesinger, George Bush, and Alexander Haig who were more interested in turf than helping Ford build coalitions.. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | Oct 4, 2015 |
This is a very clear and honest short appreciation of an important American life. ( )
  gmillar | May 5, 2010 |
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For my mother and father, who brought me to hear Gerald Ford speak in Bowling Green, Ohio, when I was eleven years old.
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The executives at Harper & Row, Publishers were smart back in 1979 when they chose a black-and-white photograph of a relaxed Gerald Ford to adorn the cover of his memoir, A time to Heal.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805069097, Hardcover)

The "accidental" president whose innate decency and steady hand restored the presidency after its greatest crisis
When Gerald R. Ford entered the White House in August 1974, he inherited a presidency tarnished by the Watergate scandal, the economy was in a recession, the Vietnam War was drawing to a close, and he had taken office without having been elected. Most observers gave him little chance of success, especially after he pardoned Richard Nixon just a month into his presidency, an action that outraged many Americans, but which Ford thought was necessary to move the nation forward.
    Many people today think of Ford as a man who stumbled a lot--clumsy on his feet and in politics--but acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley shows him to be a man of independent thought and conscience, who never allowed party loyalty to prevail over his sense of right and wrong. As a young congressman, he stood up to the isolationists in the Republican leadership, promoting a vigorous role for America in the world. Later, as House minority leader and as president, he challenged the right wing of his party, refusing to bend to their vision of confrontation with the Communist world. And after the fall of Saigon, Ford also overruled his advisers by allowing Vietnamese refugees to enter the United States, arguing that to do so was the humane thing to do.
    Brinkley draws on exclusive interviews with Ford and on previously unpublished documents (including a remarkable correspondence between Ford and Nixon stretching over four decades), fashioning a masterful reassessment of Gerald R. Ford's presidency and his underappreciated legacy to the nation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:35 -0400)

A biography of the first president to be sworn into office as a result of his predecessor's resignation.

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